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Research Paper: Becoming an Informed Voter Assignment Instructions


The purpose of this paper is to provide a practical application of material learned by developing concepts learned in the presentations. Using these concepts, you will investigate the recent political history of your congressional district and state, the rise to power and voting record of your Representative to the United States Congress and one of your United State Senators. You will determine if your representatives keep their promises when they go to Washington and determine in their voting record aligns with Biblical principles and your own beliefs.


The body of the paper must be at least 6 pages in current APA format and include level 1, 2, and 3 headings. In addition to the body, you must include a separate title page and reference page. Do not submit an abstract with this assignment.

Do not write the paper without carefully studying the related presentations. To achieve more than a passing grade, you must demonstrate a mastery of the presentations’ factual information and incorporate those ideas into your paper. Your paper must adhere to the current APA formatting guidelines.  Doing the minimum amount of work does not guarantee a perfect score.  Please consult the rubric for an understanding of what will be graded and the point value for content and style.

Researching your Congressional Delegation will be accomplished in two steps.  

1.First, you will analyze the political background of your congressional district for the last 25 years and your U.S. Representative. 

2.Second, you will analyze the political background of your state for the last 25 years and one of your U.S. Senators. You are investigating your United States Representative and Senator. Do not use members of your state legislature.

Begin by reviewing Watch: Becoming an Informed Voter. If you have a newly elected representative who has not yet received interest group ratings, use the interest group ratings of a representative from a neighboring district.  You may choose which senator to study; however, if one senator is newly elected and does not have interest group ratings, study the other one.

After reviewing the Watch item the first part will deal with your congressional district and congressman; the second part will deal with your state and senator. As explained in the presentation, interest group scores may be found at Vote Smart.  They may also be found in the interest group websites (ACLU, ACU, ADA, CC/FRC) or other cites which compile voting data.  A helpful source to find information for this paper is The Almanac of American Politics by Richard E. Cohen and James A. Barnes.

Your paper will address the following questions: 

What is the political history of your district and state for the past 25 years?

How has your congressional district and state voted in presidential and congressional elections for the past 25 years?

Does your district or state lean Republican or Democrat?

Are the political parties relatively even, or does one party dominate the elections?

Does your district and state have a long tradition of supporting one party, or has it been changing in recent years?  Why?

How did your representative and senator come to power? (Briefly describe their political backgrounds.)

What are examples some legislation your representative and senator have sponsored or co-sponsored in the last four years?  Did your legislators include this legislation in their platform when they ran for office?  How does this legislation align with biblical principles?  Explain use specific verses of scripture. 

How do the interest groups – ADA, ACLU, ACU, and CC (or FRC) – rate your representative and senator? (Note: If the Christian Coalition score is not available, you may substitute the Family Research Council score. Include the exact scores from each of these groups.) 

Based on these ratings, would you classify your representative and senator as conservative or liberal? Justify your answer.

In your conclusion explain how your congressional delegation does, or does not, reflect your values.

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