Politcal Science

The American Political System – POLI 102 Fall 2018 Assignment #2  Due 12/1 via SAFEASSIGN on the blackboard site.  Maximum 4 single space pages.  Check the syllabus for late paper policy.

The “institutional principle” argues that the rules that are adopted in the political system shape the outcome.  Given that so many think Congress is dysfunctional, you will consider arguments about how to reform the legislative branch electoral system.  Specifically, you’ll write about ranked choice voting (also called instant runoff -IRV), multi-member rather than single member districts, and primary elections.

The purpose of the assignment is twofold:

a) Critically analyze proposals to reform our election systems

b) Experience reading at least one academic political science article.

Assume that you are an advisor to a politician who must decide whether to support changes to the electoral system.  Write a memo to that politicianin which you describe and explain the advantages and disadvantages of ranked choice voting reforms (IRV), including the advantages and disadvantages of pairing this counting system with a shift to MMDs (multi-member districts), and how it differs from and could be combined with CA’s top 2 vote getter primary system.

The following resources should be used:

1) AG textbook Chapter 11 (especially pages 442-452)

2) GC textbook on primary elections (p. 87-89 and 126-127)

3) Public policy analysis “Why Competition In the Politics Industry Is Failing America” By Gehl and Porter (google to find the PDF)

4) Academic peer-reviewed articles (choose ONE to browse and mention in your paper)

Using the “super Search” function on the Mesa Library website: search “instant runoff voting”

Check “full text online” and “scholarly (peer reviewed)” to the left.

Sort by newest if you like. Scroll through, find these titles, and choose one to browse, summarize, and include in your paper:

a) Frequency of monotonicity failure under Instant Runoff Voting: estimates based on a spatial model of elections

b) Closeness matters: monotonicity failure in IRV elections with three candidates

c) The paradox of grading systems.

d) Writing The Rules To Rank The Candidates: Examining The Impact Of Instant-Runoff Voting On Racial Group Turnout In San Francisco Mayoral Elections.

5) non-academic IRV and MMD resources (browse and use articles you find useful) :













6) Videos if useful

two videos on the blackboard site

Include AT LEAST 4 DIRECT QUOTES (these should include at least ONE from Gehl and Porter, ONE from the academic article you chose, and ONE from a non-academic resource).  Make sure you use IN TEXT citationsfor each quote and paraphrase using the following format:  “direct quote” (author, p.#).  Also, please make sure you include a sources cited listat the end so I can check to see that you know how to do this.  The mesa library has a list of resources:


I’ll grade using the following rubric:

10% grammar and quotes (including correct format and reference list at the end)

10% academic article summary

40%  adv/disadv of IRV

40%  analysis of combination with MMD and/or Top-2 primary

Video about paper assignment- Critical Essay #2

(I screenshot the textbooks, and they are in the files.)

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