Writing:Ballot measure support/opposition

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This page is a content-and-style guide about how to add content for support and opposition ballot measure campaigns.
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Support and Opposition sections

Support and Opposition sections are incorporated into ballot measure articles to ensure:

1) The article maintains a neutral point of view.

2) Allows the presentation of both sides of the argument.

3) Sections allow for the presentation of major supporters and opponents of an article.


A successful support/opposition section should include the following components (organized into subsections):

  • Supporters/Opponents
  • Arguments
  • Campaign contributions
  • Campaign advertisements
  • Tactics and strategies
  • Controversies

NOTE: Support and Opposition sections are separate sections in a ballot measure article. The Support section (along its components) should be followed by the Opposition section (along with its components).


This component will list supporters that have stated their support or opposition to a certain measure. When listing a supporter/opponent:

  • List supporters/opponents (S/O) that have played a major part in the campaign, such as the main group or coalition who has formed the main campaign.
  • Some measures won't be referred to the ballot by citizen initiative, but by legislative referral. Sometimes, legislative referrals do not have campaigns for or against the measure. In this case, sponsors of the amendment in legislative session would be listed first. In the case of opponents, legislators who voted against sending the proposal to the ballot should be listed.
  • Follow this up by secondary supporters who may be small donors to the measure, or small grassroot groups that have been formed and have helped in the campaign efforts.

When placing these advocates in this subsection, Wiki-links and external links are required where they can be applied. For example:

Wiki-link examples

* [[National Education Association]] 
* [[League of Women Voters]]

External link examples

* [http://mtba.org/ Montana Bowhunters Association]
* [http://www.aclu.org/affiliate/ohio ACLU of Ohio]

When incorporating these groups, individuals and coalitions, they should be placed in a listed format. For example:

* [National Education Association]] 
* [[League of Women Voters]]
* [http://mtba.org/ Montana Bowhunters Association]
* [http://www.aclu.org/affiliate/ohio ACLU of Ohio]

If the list is growing too long, place the list into two columns. This can be done on the wiki by using the following code:

* [[National Education Association]] 
* [[League of Women Voters]]
* [http://mtba.org/ Montana Bowhunters Association]
* [http://www.aclu.org/affiliate/ohio ACLU of Ohio]

The result will show up as such:


This component of the Support/Opposition sections of a ballot measure article will contain arguments from advocates, which may touch on impacts of the measure, wording of the proposal, agenda of the other campaign, personal beliefs, writing from state columnists, letters to editors, official arguments in voter pamphlets, written statements from groups or state officials and other arguments surrounding the measure.

This subsection must include:

  • A bullet point list of arguments from supporters or opponents of measures.
  • The group, person, coalition or other organization who are making the arguments for or against the measure.
  • A short reference to the argument to place the subsequent quote into context.
  • A quote from the advocate(s) which showcases their argument.
  • A reference cited at the very end of the quote, referring to the source that the quote was obtained from. Reference must be in standard Ballotpedia format, which includes title of publication, title of article and date article was published.

Examples of a finished single bullet-pointed argument could read:

* Phil Greenisen, president of Columbiana County's Farm Bureau, talked about health care and how SB 5 provisions moved toward fairness: "The average public employee contributes something like 9 percent toward their health care, where private employees are up around 30 percent. I think Senate Bill 5 moves as toward that."[1]
* According to Amariah McIntosh, pastor at Phillips Chapel CME, speaking on behalf of Youngstown, Ohio local church leaders: "We are supposed to help the poor. Not hurt the poor. We're supposed to help the orphans and the widows and the strangers within our gates. And as legislation comes up that tries to do the opposite, it's our task and our call to speak on it."[2]

Sometimes quotes are not given by media publications, which only summarize arguments from a certain advocate. In this case, take that summary and place it on the ballot measure article in your own words to avoid plagiarism.

For example, a newspaper may say:

"John Doe has argued that the measure could plunge the state budget over the edge and stunt the economic growth that has steadily climbed over the years. Doe countered his opponents' claims that the measure could create jobs by stating it could in fact eliminate half the jobs in the field of education."

A transformation of this example newspaper clip could say:

"State Senator John Doe has made his case on the measure by arguing that it could cause state budget problems, reverse the economic spurt that has been recently occurring, and would, in fact, eliminate jobs, much to the contrary of what his counterparts have been stating about the measure."

Campaign contributions

The campaign contribution subsection should include a chart of contributors and contribution amount to campaigns for or against a ballot measure.

The chart should list five donors of the measure, along with a sentence describing the chart on the page.

However, if the chart grows too long for the subsection, a section, separate from the Support/Opposition section, should be created in another part of the page. Refer to the instructions on creating a Campaign contributions section.

The chart, along with a introductory sentence, should look like this (codes included):

The following are contributions that have been made in favor of measure:[3]

{{donor box}}
| Building A Better Ohio ||$1,700,000
| Building A Better Ohio ||$1,300,000
| Building A Better Ohio ||$1,000,000
|Building A Better Ohio  ||$1,000,000
|Building A Better Ohio  ||$600,000
Donor Amount
Building A Better Ohio $1,700,000
Building A Better Ohio $1,300,000
Building A Better Ohio $1,000,000
Building A Better Ohio $1,000,000
Building A Better Ohio $600,000

Also included in this section is:

  • A chart presenting PAC information, or rather, information from the main group in favor or in support of the measure
{| class="wikitable"
! valign="bottom" style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | PAC
! valign="bottom" style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Amount raised
! valign="bottom" style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Amount spent
| Protect Our Communities || $7,426,968.46<ref name="Herald9192011"/> || $1,094,989.21
|style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | '''Total''' 
|style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" align="center"|'''$1,391,224.04'''
|style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" align="center"|'''$1,274,563.90'''
PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Protect Our Communities $7,426,968.46[4] $1,094,989.21
Total $1,391,224.04 $1,274,563.90
  • A summary of chart of both support and opposition's contributions to the measure.
{|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]]

| style="background-color:white; color:black;" | {{support}} '''Support:'''
| align="right" | '''$22,738,021.48'''

| style="background-color:white; color: black;" | {{oppose}} '''Opposition:''' 
| align="right" | '''$7,426,968.46'''

An example of a finished campaign contribution subsection is shown here:

Campaign advertisements

Campaign advertisement subsections may be the shortest component in the Support/Opposition section, at least on the ballot measure page itself. Installing a campaign ad subsection requires the creation of another page solely dedicated to that ballot measure's television campaign advertisements, since videos will cause a format disruption in the actual ballot measure page.

For instance, if there is more than one advertisement, a new page such this will be created:

This page is a television ad for this ballot measure:

The title of the advertisement page should drop the year (2011) and add "television ads" at the end of it.

The subsection on the ballot measure page will be as follows:

===Campaign advertisements===
The following page contains television campaign advertisements for campaigns in favor of the measure:

* [[Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 television ads]]

Note: One video should be placed on the ballot measure page. This video will show up on the right side of the page, as a small screen for readers to watch. This should be done in the following code in the Support/Opposition sections:

<div style="float:right;">{{#ev:youtube|TfdBF13S5p4|250}}</div>

To further learn how to embed a video on Ballotpedia, please refer to this page.

Tactics and strategies

Tactics and strategies highlight the campaign plans of both those in favor or opposition of a measure. Tactics and strategies could include content that displays:

  • Signature gathering companies hired by the campaigns.
  • Signature gathering strategies by campaign efforts such as big events where signature gathering took place.
  • Those chosen to lead a campaign in favor or in opposition of the measure.
  • Campaign strategies such as rallies, fundraisers, public forums, Q&A's, protests, etc.


Excerpts in this subsection should include reference to sources, the campaign effort, the date of event or hire if available, and description of event. Different events should be in a bullet point list format. Examples include:

* According to reports, lobbyist and political consultant Vaughn Flasher was said to have been chosen to lead the campaign to keep Senate Bill 5 a law.[5]
* Melissa Fazekas, of the We are Ohio coalition, stated in the month leading up to the petition drive deadline that there were more than 10,000 volunteers circulating petitions. Fazekas said: "We're seeing an unprecedented level of support. It's really a citizen-driven, community-based coalition that's come together to repeal Senate Bill 5, which we believe is an unfair attack on employee rights and worker safety."[6]
* Innovation Ohio, a think tank that reports described as "left-leaning," released a database on September 28, 2011 showing pay and benefits of elected officials who supported Senate Bill 5. The database revealed base salary and perks of those elected officials, such as retirement benefits and car allowances. Those perks, reports said, were given to John Kasich and his administration, along with Republican legislators. Those perks, Innovation Ohio says, were not provided to the average state worker.[7]
* A demonstration was held at the Arizona Capitol on March 26, 2010 that saw college students lobby for the approval of the measure. The rally was attended by the Arizona Students' Association, a group of students from the three major universities in the state, including Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. According to Elma Delic, a member of the organization, "We’ve seen the largest tuition increases a couple of weeks ago."


This subsection should include controversies that have occurred surrounding the measure. Each excerpt about a controversy should be in bullet point format. Controversies that could appear include:

  • Allegations of signature gathering fraud that have not been filed in court.
  • Reports of intimidation from campaigns on the other side of the ballot measure effort.
  • Vandalism of campaign advertisements, signs and messages.
  • Accusations by one campaign claiming misinformation from the other side.

Each excerpt should include:

  • Words and phrases such as "allegedly," "reportedly," "reports say," "according to supporters," "according to reports" in order to keep the neutrality of the article intact.
  • A description of the accusations.
  • A background of the controversy.

Note: Some ballot measure campaigns do not have controversies that have surrounded ballot questions. As a result, this section may not be included in some ballot measure articles


The following are examples taken from actual ballot measure articles found on Ballotpedia:

* In what added more controversy between the two campaigns both for and against Issue 2, a television advertisement for the "Vote No on 2" campaign featured Marlene Quinn, an elderly Cincinnati woman who stated in the video that she planned to vote 'no' on Issue 2, which was a vote against Senate Bill 5. However, comments Quinn used in the advertisement were then used by the "Vote Yes on 2" campaign in order to sway voters to approve Senate Bill 5. The controversy pitted Quinn in the middle of the collective bargaining battle in the state, with Quinn stating about the use of her image in the "yes" campaign ad: "I think it's dishonest and downright deceitful that they would use footage of me to try to play tricks and fool voters." However, the 'yes' campaign has stated that they are within their rights to produce Quinn's image in their footage.[8]
* Vandalism was reported to have occurred, with the target being campaign signs for the "Yes on 26" campaign. According to Les Riles of Personhood Mississippi: "They put up a large personhood sign up at a business in downtown Brookhaven and a lady came in broad open daylight and tore the sign over and defaced it. The police came, and she told them she was just exercising her free-speech rights." But Riley points out that free speech does not include the destruction of private property."[9]

See also