Early in the fall term, participants will be assigned specific roles to play for the entire Mock Presidential Election. The roles include: a) Party Officials, b) Election Officials, c) Logistic Personnel, d) Campaign Managers, e) Field Workers, f) Newspaper Editors and Reporters, g) Broadcast Journalists, h) Caucus Goers, i) Primary Voters, j) Convention Delegates, k) Third Party Delegates, l) General Election Voters and Electors, and m) United States Representatives and Senators. Here are brief descriptions of these roles.
Party Officials. Party Officials will be drawn from the respective universities faculty, graduate students and staff members. These university volunteers will direct participants to their assigned seats, distribute materials, administer surveys, take attendance, and help supervise various aspects of the voting processes. Personnel from Western Illinois University at Macomb will be responsible for administering Sessions 1R, 1D, 2R, 2D, 3R, 3D, 4G, 4L, 4T and 5 on the Macomb campus. Personnel from other participating institutions, however, are encouraged to participate in any and all sessions of the Mock Election. All Party Officials will be assigned color-coded identification badges and skimmer hats that must be worn at all times.
Election Officials. To ensure fairness and add legitimacy, members of the League of Women Voters will be responsible for distributing ballots, monitoring the ballot boxes, and counting the votes. Election Officials will be provided color-coded identification badges and special sashes that must be displayed at all times.
Logistic Personnel. Volunteers will serve as logistic personnel for all sessions. Logistic personnel will help display signage, inflate balloons, direct participants, run errands, assist in clean up, and help out whenever needed. Special attention must be given to taking electronic attendance and maintaining electronic displays. [However, sound and lighting at each venue will be handled by professional technicians.] Logistic Personnel will be given color-coded identification badges that must be worn at all time.
Campaign Managers. Every candidate in the Mock Election will have a student Campaign Manager. The Campaign Managers are the field generals for the respective camps. They develop strategy, conduct research, study issues, marshal forces, maintain webpage information, introduce their respective candidates and/or speak on behalf of the candidates throughout the entire process. Campaign Managers may be drawn from student government, honors colleges, the College Republicans, College Democrats, Campus Greens, Campus Libertarians, Campus Tea Partiers, or other campus organizations. A student leader will be assigned to coordinate activities on the various campuses. Campaign Managers from the WIU-Macomb campus will assume most of the responsibilities for the remaining sessions. However, students for any campus are encouraged to participate throughout the entire process. To help distribute the workload, Campaign Managers are encouraged to appoint Assistant Campaign Managers, Deputy Campaign Managers, Volunteer Coordinators, Communication Directors, to suggest just a few. Campaign personnel will also be assigned color coded badges and identification numbers that will enable them to participate in their party’s events.
Field Workers. Every presidential camp must have Field Workers to promote their respective candidates. Field Workers will be drawn from undergraduate and graduate student volunteers from the various campuses. They will be responsible for learning the candidate’s positions and promoting their candidate throughout the simulation. They will also hand out literature, cajole convention delegates, and seek votes. The simulation will require about 20 to 50 Field Workers per presidential candidate. Each camp should display prominently its candidate (e.g., sporting campaign buttons, wearing the same color t-shirts, sashes or hats). Campaign personnel will also be assigned color-coded badges and identification numbers that will enable them to participate in their party’s events.
Print and Electronic Editors and Reporters. No presidential simulation would be complete without the “fourth branch of government.” The Mock Presidential Election will publish at least one newspaper under the auspices of the WIU Department of Journalism. The newspaper will have Editors to oversee the content, Editorial Writers, and many Reporters will write stories about events as they unfold. Most of these participants will be drawn from journalism classes. Every newspaper will produce approximately four issues running about four pages (single-spaced, double column) each. The paper will be produced electronically on the Mock Webpage and via hard copy with the assistance of the DPS (university printing). Students will also be permitted to publish their own mock newspapers (print or electronic) under guidelines established by MPE directors. Each Newspaper Editor and Reporter will be given a special identification badge or pass that must be displayed throughout the session.
Broadcast Journalists. In addition to print journalism, we plan to have mock Broadcast Journalists as well. We will need several news anchors and roving reporters to broadcast events live on monitors set up in the Mock Conventions. Students will be recruited from the Communication Department to fulfill these roles. We will need approximately 20 students plus support staff. Each Broadcast Journalist will be given a special identification badge or pass that must be displayed throughout the session.
Caucus Goers. As the name implies, Caucus Goers are the citizens who attend their respective party’s caucuses. Caucus Goers will be played by WIU-Macomb students in Sessions 1R and 1D. Well before the beginning of the simulation, students will be asked to divide into Republicans and Democrats. The simulation works best if Republicans play Republicans and Democrats play Democrats. If a student does not identify with either major party, he or she should pick one of the two major parties he or she “leans to.” (There will be opportunity to participate in minor party politics later in the simulation). Each Caucus Goer will be assigned a special identification number (either by a participating professor or by contacting the simulation organizers) and a color-coded identification badge that must be worn throughout the caucus.
Primary Voters. Students who are assigned to a state with a primary election in Sessions 1R and 1D will be Primary Voters. Each primary voter will report to his or her assigned state primary, listen to speeches, question Field Workers, study issues, discuss the issues, complete surveys, and vote for the candidate of choice. Each Primary Voter will be assigned a special identification number (either by a participating professor or by contacting the simulation organizers) and a color-coded identification badge that must be worn throughout the presidential primary.
Convention Delegates. Sessions 2 and 3 will simulate the political party conventions. Students attending these sessions will be termed Convention Delegates. Each participant will be assigned to represent a particular state delegating by his or her professor (or simulation staff). State delegations vary by size, depending on the state population and the apportionment formula devised by each state. In Sessions 2R and 2D, Convention Delegates will listen to keynote speeches, then debate and approve their party’s platform (positions on issues). In Sessions 3R and 3D, Convention Delegates will hear nominating speeches, then vote for their party’s nominees for President and Vice President. Again, students must display their assigned color-coded badge to participate.
Third Party Delegates. All students will be afforded an opportunity to attend and participate in a Third or Minor Party convention in Session 4. Students may choose to attend the Green Party Convention (4G), Libertarian Party Convention (4L) or the Tea Party Convention (4T). The purpose of these conventions is to hear keynote speeches, approve a party platform and nominate the third party’s presidential and vice presidential standard bearer. Any color-coded badge will be acceptable for admission and participation.
General Election Voters and Presidential Electors. In the final stage, Session 5, all participants—Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and Tea Parties—will gather in Western Hall to select the President of the United States. The vast majority of students will be voters. Again, each student will be assigned to a particular state by his or her professor (or by a simulation official). States voters will be apportioned according the number of states each state is entitled to have in the Electoral College. Voters will have the opportunity to hear speeches from the respective party nominees, compare and contrast the five party platforms, chat with campaigners, confer with fellow voters, then cast a secret vote. Whichever ticket wins the most popular votes in you assigned state will win that state’s electoral votes.
United States Senators and Representatives. To become President of the United States, a candidate must receive a majority of the Electoral College votes. Under the U.S. Constitution, if no candidate receives a majority of the Electoral College votes (now 270 of 538 votes), the election is thrown into Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives, with each state getting one vote, will choose the President among the top three vote getters, and the U.S. Senate, with each state getting but one vote, will select the next Vice President. In our simulation, the WIU Band will serve as the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the WIU Student Government Association (SGA) will serve as the U.S. Senate. Members of the WIU Marching Band and SGA Senators will also be assigned identification badges.