The Founding Fathers in bronze at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Jessica Mahone is a graduate research fellow at The Democracy Fund. Below she writes about the Knight News Challenge: Elections, which asks the question: How might we better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections? The best nonpartisan ideas will share in more than $3 million. Apply at newschallenge.org. Political participation in the U.S. is often reduced to Americans’ engagement in federal campaigns. During campaigns, political observers combine available data and anecdotes to speculate on whether a candidate has the ground, financial, and likely-voter support to win the White House or a given congressional seat. After Election Day, many of the same pundits lament low voter participation rates, as in the 2014 midterms when turnout was at its lowest since WWII. Rarely do these conversations meaningfully consider what voters’ participation in campaigns and at the ballot box say about Americans’ broader civic engagement -- particularly when it comes to the down-ticket elections and ballot issues that aren’t top of mind or of news cycles but actually make up the majority of questions on most ballots.