In the end the students actually did a decent job. Even the group that fell behind created a document that rivaled the other classes. In most cases it served as a microcosm of the greater voting population. About half the students were somewhat indifferent to the entire process (despite the fact a pass/fail grade was used as an incentive) – perhaps their education as a whole, while 30% or so were willing to support and help in the efforts of the remaining 20% who acted as leaders of the class and individual groups.
I’ll do some small tweaks for next year, but generally I am pretty pleased.