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Ballotpedia:WikiProject Local Ballot Measures guidelines/Support

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This writing guide explains how to craft a "Support" section for a local ballot measure article.

Support

The "Support" section of an article should be created as content to fill the section becomes available. The section houses all information concerning official proponents, supporters, supporting arguments, and supporting campaigns for the local ballot measure in question. "Support" and "Opposition" sections should be created together.

Subsections

The following subsections are sometimes featured in the "Support" section:

  • "Supporters"
  • "Arguments in favor"
  • "Official arguments"
  • "Editorials"
  • "Campaign finance"

Most articles simply feature a "Supporters" section and an "Arguments in favor" section.

Supporters

Information about the official campaign and all "yes" vote endorsements for the measure should be included in this subsection.

If the list of endorsements is extremely long, a separate page can be created and linked to as was done on this page. In cases such as these, a sample of supporters should be listed on the main article.

Care must be taken to avoid listing people who do not actually support the measure. For example, even if a local legislator votes to put a measure on the ballot, it does not necessarily mean that he or she endorses a "yes" vote on the measure on election day. He or she may simply think the voters should have their say. In fact, in the case of indirect initiatives, voting to put an initiative measure on the ballot can, but does not always, indicate opposition, since the alternative is for the legislator to enact the measure directly.

Arguments in favor

There are (at least) two options for how you can characterize the arguments that are being made (all arguments should include references):

  • Quote: You can quote the actual arguments. This gives the reader the exact flavor of how the measure's supporters or opponents are actually talking about it. The actual words or phrases used as arguments by those involved in supporting or opposing a measure can be raw, vigorous, aggressive and full of spin. The arguments offered up by those on campaigns can also be misleading, either deliberately or by accident. The positive case to be made for quoting the real things people are saying is that it lets the reader know exactly what people are, in fact, saying. The negative case is that without exercising significant care in how you write it, you might appear to be endorsing or agreeing with some facts or charges the opponents/supporters are making as part of their argument. Note: when adding a quote make sure to note who said the statement and reference your source.
  • Paraphrase: You can characterize arguments that are being made, without directly quoting raw, aggressive or potentially misleading claims. This allows you to lay out the main reasons people are giving for their position, without putting yourself in the position of appearing to agree with factual claims that are part of their argument, but which have not been established or may not be true.

A combination of these two options should be used to achieve the best "Support" section.

If there are official ballot arguments, these should be included in this section.

Editorials

If the editorial boards of prominent news papers release articles endorsing a "yes" vote on the measure, these should be featured.

Campaign finance

If the campaign finance information for the support and opposition to a measure is interesting or notable, it should be added to the article.

Ideally, the total contributions to and expenditures of the committees supporting the measure should be reported, along with at least the top five or ten donors. As expenditures and contributions are constantly changing, the section should feature a disclaimer such as "As of March 23, 2014, ..."

Videos & images

See also: Help:Embedding a video & Images project portal
  • Campaign videos found on youtube can be added to the pages in the "Support" section to illustrate the campaign videos being run by the supporters. These videos can be "floated" to the right or left of the article or put in their own section. Instructions for embedding videos can be found here.
  • Campaign images: Relevant support campaign images such as logos, signs, political cartoons and advertisements can be added to the article in the "Support" section. All copyrights must be respected according to Ballotpedia's image use and copyright policies.

Installation

The "Support" section should be located under the "Text of measure" section and above the "Opposition" section.

Basic

The "installation code" for a "Support" section featuring basic components:


==Support==

===Supporters===

===Arguments in favor===

====Official arguments====
The following statement was submitted as the official argument in support of this measure:*REFERENCE*
{{Quote|
*Insert text here*
|author = AUTHOR NAME(S)*REFERENCE*}}

Editorials

The "installation code" for the "Editorials" subsection looks like:

===Editorials===
* The '''''NEWS PAPER #1 NAME''''' editorial board endorsed a "yes" vote on this measure, arguing ... Below is an excerpt of the editorial:*REFERENCE*
{{Quote|
*Insert text here*
|author = '''''NEWS PAPER NAME''''' editorial board*REFERENCE*}}

* The '''''NEWS PAPER #2 NAME''''' editorial board endorsed a "yes" vote on this measure, arguing ... Below is an excerpt of the editorial:*REFERENCE*
{{Quote|
*Insert text here*
|author = '''''NEWS PAPER NAME''''' editorial board*REFERENCE*}}

...

Campaign finance

Campaign finance sections can vary.

The following code can be used to list donors and their donations:

{|class="wikitable" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" border="1" style="background:none" style="width:80%;"
|-
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Donor
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Amount
|-
|DONOR NAME
| text align="right" | $$
|-
|DONOR NAME
| text align="right" | $$
|-
|DONOR NAME
| text align="right" | $$
...
|}

The following code should be used in one place somewhere in the article to display an info box with the "total campaign cash" for both the support and opposition:

===Campaign finance===

{|class="infobox" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" border="1"  style="background-color:#FBEC5D; color:black;" style="width:20%;"
|-
| colspan="2" style="background-color:#FBEC5D; color:black;" align="center" | '''Total campaign cash''' [[File:Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png|21px]]<br><small>''as of DATE, YEAR''</small>
|-
| style="background-color:white; color:black;" | {{support}} '''Support:'''
| align="right" | '''$$TOTAL SUPPORT CONTRIBUTIONS'''
|-
| style="background-color:white; color: black;" | {{oppose}} '''Opposition:''' 
| align="right" | '''$$TOTAL OPPOSITION CONTRIBUTIONS'''
|}

Videos

To find instructions for adding youtube videos to the article, see this page.

No content

If no content for either the "Support" or "Opposition" sections of an article can be found, the following code should be included in the otherwise empty section.

If you have an argument you would like to see posted here, please email the [mailto:josh.altic@lucyburns.org Local Ballot Measures Project staff writer].

Examples

Below are links to the "Support" sections of several local ballot measure articles to serve as examples:

See also