Classroom Content

Voting
Updated:
October 2, 2021
Published:
September 20, 2021
History
Right Narrative
Left Narrative
Popular Vote vs. Electoral College
Gerrymandering
2020 Election Turnout
Absentee/Mail-In and Early Voting
Voter Fraud
Legal Response to the 2020 Election
Polling
For the People Act

History

Pursuit of History

The History of Voting Rights in the United States

Video • 6 min • April 16, 2020

The video covers the history of voting in America and how it has gradually allowed more people to vote.

Discussion Questions
1. Were you aware that any of the different groups were prohibited from voting?
2. Are there any other groups you feel should be added to the voting population?
3. Do you think there should be a citizenship test for people to be eligible to vote?
4. Is the current voting age fair- should it be lowered or increased?
No Bias
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Winning the Vote: A History of Voting Rights

Article • October 4, 2018

This article covers the main parts of voting rights history in America with a concluding opinion that the history is not yet over.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe that America still needs to improve its voting process?
No Bias
National Council for the Social Studies

Cultivating Curiosity and Active Citizenship: Teaching Voting and the History of Voting Rights

Article • 2015

This article talks about voting in the modern age and its importance from the perspective of a teacher

Discussion Questions
1. As students, do you feel prepared to vote?
No Bias

The Right Narrative

PragerU

Is Voter Fraud Real

Video • 6 min • February 24, 2020

Investigative reporter Eric Eggers of the Government Accountability Institute  examines three methods of potential voter fraud.

Discussion Questions
1. Should the three methods suggested be investigated or prevented?
2. What assumptions does this argument make? What arguments are needed to be assumed to counter the points made? 
Right Bias
Project Veritas

Omar Connected Harvester SEEN Exchanging $200 for General Election Ballot. "We don't care illegal."

Video • 14 min • September 29, 2020

James O’Keefe examines and explains an undercover investigative video showing voter fraud in Minneapolis.

Leans Right
Real Clear Politics

Election Workers In Coffee County, Georgia Demonstrate Dominion Voting Machine Flaws

Video (6:14, 8:11) • December 10, 2020

Election officials in Coffee County, Georgia demonstrate why they are refusing to certify the results of the 2020 election based on their suspicions that voting machines made by a Canadian company called Dominion are not secure.

Center
Tim Pool

Democrats Just Got Caught Rigging Elections, Judge Pleads Guilty, Mail In Voter Fraud Exposed in NJ

Report • August 27, 2019

Independent journalist Tim Pool reviews a breaking story from The Philadelphia Inquirer on a judge who pleaded guilty to stuffing ballot boxes in a local election. Republicans have raised concerns about voter fraud but are often dismissed by Democrats. In North New Jersey, a case of voter fraud has rocked the city of Patterson as residents say their mail-in ballots never came, yet someone voted in their names.

Discussion Questions
1. Can small-scale stories like this be linked to large-scale voter fraud? Why or why not?
Center
The Verdict with Ted Cruz

The Battle Over Ballots | Ep. 60

Video • December 5, 2020

Following the filing of an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the election results in Pennsylvania, Senator Ted Cruz joins Michael Knowles to break down the state of the 2020 presidential race one month after election night, the legal challenges that Senator Cruz has his eye on, and the battle that lies ahead for Trump's team.

Right Bias
John Stuart Mill

On Liberty

Podcast • 10 min • September 11, 2021

On Liberty is a collection of works by John Stuart Mill (J.S. Mill). J.S. Mill was a British economist and political philosopher whose collective works demonstrated the necessity of American foundational principles through a critique of British majoritarian tyranny.

Academic
Newsmax

Poll: 80 Percent See Voter ID as 'Important Security Measure'

Article • July 8, 2021

The article examines a poll on voter security measures which found 80% see voter ID as a necessary security measure.

Discussion Questions
Should voter ID be necessary to secure elections?
Leans Right
Fox News

Kamala Harris slammed for claiming rural Americans can't photocopy their IDs

Article • September 11, 2021

The article examines media backlash to comments made by Vice President Kamala Harris about voter ID.

Discussion Questions
Who does voter ID really disenfranchise? Is it correct to assume people cannot get access to voter ID?
Right Bias

The Left Narrative

MSNBC

Florida activists fight felony disenfranchisement

Video • 5 min • March 13, 2016

Activists and a former felon explain their movement to get convicted felons in Florida their right to vote back. After rebuilding a life outside of jail, these adults still do not have a right to vote. Almost 2 million voters in Florida cannot vote due to a past conviction, and 25% of these voters are black. 

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe that after serving time, felons should have their right to vote restored?
2. Is this an issue that you were aware of? If not, are you surprised? 
Left Bias
The Hill

Advocates sound the alarm as restrictive voting laws pile up

Video • 1 min • May 8, 2021

Voting advocates explain why federal legislation on voting rights is needed now more than ever in the wake of new restrictive voting measures. 

Discussion Questions
1. With such low numbers of voter fraud actually found, do you think more restrictive measures should be passed to fight it?
Center
NPR

Right To Vote: Historians On What Voting Restrictions Mean For Democracy's Future

Podcast • 10 min • July 16, 2021

Historians engage in conversation about the impact of the new restrictive voting measures in different states. They address Republican remarks on how fears are not realistic and how important it is for parties to make legislation to protect citizens rather than to stay in power. 

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe concerns about the restrictive measures are valid? Why or why not?
2. Do you think these measures are in place for power reasons?
Center
Project Vote

The Politics of Voter Fraud

Academic Paper

This study by Lorraine Minnite from Columbia University researches just how prominent voter fraud actually is. Her findings showed that it is extremely rare. Most cases of voter fraud turn out to be something else like error while voting, which is more prominent when there are more complicated voting laws and rules. 

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe politicians are taking the right steps to combat voter fraud? Or do things such as voter ID requirements make it harder?
Leans Left
PNAS

Universal vote-by-mail has no impact on partisan turnout or vote share

Academic Paper • June 23, 2020

A study looked into the argument that increasing mail-in ballots during COVID-19 would favor one party over another. It found that universal vote by mail does not affect one party over the other despite popular claims.

Discussion Questions
1. If the pandemic did not discuss expanding alternate voting methods, do you think this conversation would still be a priority? 
Academic
The Atlantic

Democrats Have 1 Option Left

Article • July 1, 2021

The article explains that after trying to pass sweeping voting rights legislation and being met with rejections, the Democrats need to abolish the filibuster in order to pass anything in the Senate. It is important for them to be able to pass bills that will restrict these voter suppression laws at an urgent rate. 

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe that the filibuster needs to be ended in order for legislation to get passed?
2. If the filibuster worked in the Left’s favor, do you believe this would still be a debate?
Leans Left

Gerrymandering

PBS

Simple Civics | What is Gerrymandering?

Video • 4 min • September 15, 2020

This video explains the history of gerrymandering and how it came to be, how it affects certain groups, and how gerrymandering can be addressed and fixed.

Discussion Questions
1. Has there been gerrymandering in your district? How has this affected your community?
Center
NBC News

Texas Redistricting Fight Split Over Party Lines After Census Results

Video • 6 min • April 20, 2021

After the new Census report showed that Texas gained two new congressional seats, there is a battle when it comes to gerrymandering growing in the state. These seats can decide which party will control Congress and must be made in a non partisan way.

Discussion Questions
1. With a past of unfair district lines by Republicans and no law to ensure these new seats are selected in a non-partisan way, do you believe there should be extra attention given to the distribution of these new seats?
Leans Left
FiveThirtyEight

It’s Probably Not Possible To End Gerrymandering

Podcast • 46 min • January 11, 2018

While it is true that gerrymandering affects electoral outcomes and at this moment benefits the Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to end. The podcast explains why it is difficult, for reasons like creating a comprehensive map to include minorities, balancing parties equally, and keeping cities the same.

Discussion Questions
1. Based on the reasoning for why it is so hard to end gerrymandering, do you believe politicians should focus on other methods in order to minimize it as much as possible?
Center
JSTOR Daily

Is Gerrymandering to Blame for Our Polarized Politics?

Academic Paper • 3 min • March 19, 2018

While gerrymandering certainly benefits one party over the other, it is said to threaten incumbents more.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you agree with this analysis that our country is extremely polarized from within our districts?
Center
SSRN

The Impact of Partisan Gerrymandering on Political Parties

Academic Paper • February 21, 2019

Partisan gerrymandering is increasingly affecting the impact of political parties. Candidates are found to be less likely to run for office in a district that their party is disadvantaged by due to partisan gerrymandering. Donors and voters are also less likely to put effort into these campaigns which means that the advantaged party will most likely remain in office.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you think it is worth it for a disadvantaged party in a gerrymandered district to run a hard campaign against the favored party?
No Bias
NBC News

Michigan’s push to end gerrymandering offers ‘hope’ for divided nation, advocates say

Article • July 3, 2021

The article explains Michigan’s attempt to end gerrymandering by implementing an independent non-partisan redistricting committee. If that committee successfully reduces the partisan divide, it could lead to fair elections throughout the country.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe that states switching to an independent redistricting committee would mitigate problems like packing parties into single districts or creating unfair district lines?
Leans Left
Fox News

Democrats focus on state elections in push to control Congressional mapmaking

Article • August 7, 2020

The article explains how Republican states are bracing for upcoming elections. While Democrats use funding for their campaigns and express their interest in independent, nonpartisan district committees, Republicans argue that the Democrats have used gerrymandering to their advantage.

Discussion Questions
1. How do you address issues like gerrymandering when both parties blame each other? Is it possible to find the facts?
Right Bias
AP News

ACLU sues Ohio GOP lawmakers over redistricting records

Article • July 8, 2021

Ohio is beginning to implement a new redistricting process to fight gerrymandering throughout the state.

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think the GOP is refusing to show their redistricting records?
2. Do you believe this is something that should be required?
Center

2020 Election Turnout

CNBC

Historic voter turnout keeps getting bigger

Video • 4 min • October 16, 2020

This video discusses the unprecedented voter turnout and how many of the votes were cast during the early voting period. CNBC news correspondents interview early voters in North Carolina and ask why they chose to vote in the 2020 election. They also look into record-breaking numbers in Georgia, another battleground state.

Discussion Questions
1. If you had voted in the 2020 election, would you have chosen to stand in long lines during a pandemic? If not, why do you think some people still chose to do so?
Center
FiveThirtyEight Politics

How We Expect the Electorate To Look in 2020

Podcast • 48 min • October 28, 2020

Given the information from early voting turnout and polling projections, analysts at FiveThirtyEight predict the record turnout of the 2020 election and how voter demographics will compare to that of the 2016 election.

Center
KCRW Left, Right, and Center

Winning Ugly is Still Winning

Podcast • 1 hr 3 min • November 06, 2020

**This podcast is not specifically about voter turnout, but it is an excellent source to understand the more detailed aspects of the 2020 election if students would like supplementary information.

The podcast breaks down all the big news from the 2020 election from House and Senate results and split, the presidential election, voter turnout, demographic turnout, and polling errors.

Discussion Questions
1. How trustworthy are the polls if in the past two elections saw consistently inaccurate predictions?
Right Bias
Journal of Democracy

The Miracle and Tragedy of the 2020 U.S. Election

Journal Article • April 2017

The article reviews the circumstances that led to the 2020 election and their impact on voter turnout, from access to mail-in voting to how the Covid-19 pandemic affected voting in person.

Discussion Questions
1.  If Covid-19 had not happened and no changes were made to mail-in voting, do you think the turnout would have been different or the same as the 2016 election or any other previous elections?
Academic
Time Magazine

The 2020 Election Set a Record for Voter Turnout. But Why Is It Normal for So Many Americans to Sit Out Elections?

Article • November 5, 2020

The article summarizes the historic turnout in the 2020 election but qualifies the apparent success by mentioning that it is still lower than other national elections in other countries. It discusses the history of voter turnout, when it last peaked, and what the 2020 election means for the future.

Discussion Questions
1. As mentioned in the article, every increase in voter turnout results from some emotional or polarizing event. What was the most contributing factor in the 2020 election, in your opinion?
Leans Left
Newsmax Opinion

Stats Prove Ballot Stuffing

Article & Video • 7 min • September 25, 2021

The article interviews former Democratic strategist Dick Morris about his take on the significant increase in voter turnout in the 2020 election. He attributes it to ballot-stuffing, claiming that there is no reasonable way votes spiked so significantly this year.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you agree with Morris that such an increase in turnout is improbable? Why or why not?
Right Bias
Pew Research Center

Turnout soared in 2020 as nearly two-thirds of eligible U.S. voters cast ballots for president

Article • January 28, 2021

The article analyzes key statistics from the 2020 election, revealing record-breaking turnout compared to other American elections. However, it recognizes that American elections still lag behind other developed democracies regarding voter turnout.

Discussion Questions
1. Did voter turnout increase in your state? Was it a significant change (>5 percent)? What is a potential contributing factor?
Center

Absentee/Mail-In and Early Voting

NPR Politics

Why We Might Not Know Who Wins on Election Night

Video • 5 min • October 20, 2020

**While NPR is a centrist source, this video implicitly suggests that Republican politicians’ claim of voter fraud is false and dangerous.

This video explains how mail-in ballots and early voting affect the timing of the election results. It also addresses fraud claims from mail-in ballots from previous elections and incumbent Donald Trump.

Discussion Questions
1. How long after the election do you think is too long for election results to come out?
Center
Wall Street Journal News

The Vote-By-Mail Debate, Explained

Video • 6 min • April 21, 2020

This video explains the progression of vote-by-mail/absentee ballots and how they looked in the 2020 election. It dives into the Left and Right’s respective support and opposition to vote-by-mail policies.

Discussion Questions
1.  Do you think universal vote-by-mail should or should not be available? Why?
Center
NPR Consider This

Early Voting Points to Possible Record Turnout, With New States in Play

Podcast • 12 min • October 28, 2020

The record-breaking early vote turnout put new states into battleground status, with the actual turnout exceeding predictions by over 20 million votes.

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think people choose to vote in-person early rather than on election day? Considering that there were long lines either way, what other circumstances sway early voters?
Center
Taylor and Francis Online

Does Voting by Mail Increase Fraud? Estimating the Change in Reported Voter Fraud When States Switch to Elections By Mail

Journal Article • May 3, 2021

The study statistically analyzed the incidence of fraud in universal vote-by-mail states versus non-universal vote-by-mail states and found no statistically significant difference between the two.

Discussion Questions
1.  Do you trust vote-by-mail? Why do you think there was so much opposition to the mail-in ballot in the 2020 election, even though statistics seem to show their efficacy?
Academic
The New Yorker

The Chaotic Design of Trump’s Mail-In Voting Rants

Article • July 31, 2020

The article criticizes Trump’s attacks on the integrity of mail-in ballots and his attempts to reduce the credibility of votes cast from mail-in. Additionally, it discusses how mail-in voting has increased civic participation in elections from typically underrepresented groups.

Discussion Questions
1. Would voting by mail be more convenient for you if you were voting in an election right now?
Left Bias
Fox News

Democratic ballots more than double Republican ballots during early voting

Article • October 9, 2020

The article breaks down early voting statistics nationwide in addition to specific battleground states. It addresses Trump’s concerns about voter fraud and state decisions for universal mail-in voting.

Discussion Questions
1.  Do you think higher rates of mail-in voting correspond with an increase in voter fraud? Why or why not?
Right Bias
NPR Online News

Expanded Access to Voting Yielded Huge Turnout. Will States Take It Away?

Article • November 25, 2020

The article writes about how early voting and mail-in voting changed the trajectory of the 2020 election, drawing out massive numbers of voters. It also addresses the plausibility of the continuation of universal mail-in voting.

Discussion Questions
1. If early voting and absentee/mail-in ballots contributed to higher voter turnout, under what circumstances would states choose to revoke access to them?
Center

Voter Fraud

The Federalist Society

Do Voter ID Laws Burden Voters?

Video • 5 min • February 28, 2020

The requirement to show identification to vote has become a heated debate in recent years. Proponents argue that voter ID laws protect our elections from fraud, while opponents say these laws disenfranchise some eligible voters. Professor Derek Muller of Pepperdine University (Caruso School of Law) and Professor Daniel P. Tokaji of The Ohio State University (Michael E. Moritz College of Law) present differing views on voter ID laws' pros and cons.

Center
CBS News

What you need to know about "ballot harvesting"

Video • 12 min • September 1, 2020

 In the countdown to the 2020 election, there is a renewed focus on the process of voting and how voters can cast their ballot safely during the coronavirus pandemic. There has been controversy around a practice sometimes known as “ballot harvesting.” CBSN political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns and CBS News 2020 reporter Musadiq Bidar join CBSN to discuss the issue.

Discussion Questions
1. Are these crime rates for native-born vs. legal immigrants vs. illegal immigrants surprising? Why? 2. Is it possible that illegal immigrants are committing less crime because they have more to lose if caught?
Leans Left
Diya TV

RAW: Full Hima Kolanagireddy testimony before Michigan House alleging election fraud

Video • 41 min • December 3, 2020

Hima Kolanagireddy testifies before the Michigan Legislature about what she saw on election night 2020.

Discussion Questions
1. How can legislators utilize testimony from citizens to inform decisions they make?
No Bias
Taylor and Francis Online

Does Voting by Mail Increase Fraud? Estimating the Change in Reported Voter Fraud When States Switch to Elections By Mail

Journal Article • May 3, 2021

The study statistically analyzed the incidence of fraud in universal vote-by-mail states versus non-universal vote-by-mail states and found no statistically significant difference between the two.

Discussion Questions
1.  Do you trust vote-by-mail? Why do you think there was so much opposition to the mail-in ballot process in the 2020 election, even though there was no statistical grounding to the claims?
Academic
Chicago Tribune

Arizona has identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud in last year’s presidential election, undercutting Trump’s claims

Article • July 16, 2021

Arizona county election officials have identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s presidential election. These findings further discrediting former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election as his allies continue a disputed ballot review in the state’s most populous county.

Center
The Epoch Times

Arizona Senate Issues Fresh Subpoenas for 2020 Election Audit

Article • July 27, 2021

 Arizona senators issued a new subpoena to the state’s largest county on July 26 for materials related to the 2020 election.

Leans Right
Stamford Advocate

Republican Issues Subpoenas for Wisconsin Election Info

Article • September 11, 2021

The state Assembly’s elections committee leader issued subpoenas Friday demanding extensive election materials, including all ballots and voting machines, from two Wisconsin counties in what she called a “top-to-bottom” investigation of the state’s 2020 presidential results.

Center

Polling

CNBC

Are Polls Trustworthy?

Video • 14 min • October 26, 2020

A majority of Americans don't believe these pre-vote polls are accurate, pointing to the misrepresentation of polling results from the 2016 presidential election. Experts contend that polling has become more precise and conclusive over time, but that they poll how people will vote, not how the electoral college will count votes. Find out how the polling industry makes money and understand polling results ahead of November 3rd by watching the video above.

Center
TED-Ed

Pros and cons of public opinion polls - Jason Robert Jaffe

Video • 4 min • May 17, 2013

How do public opinion polls work? More importantly, are they accurate? Jason Robert Jaffe reveals the complexities and biases of polls and provides tips on how to think about polls as we make everyday decisions. Lesson by Jason Robert Jaffe, animation by Flaming Medusa Studios.

Center
United States Studies Centre

Election Watch | The perils of pre-election polling

Video • 1 hr 2 min

The 2016 US presidential election rattled some Americans' confidence in polling. However, in the 2020 election cycle, media outlets frequently displayed polling numbers, most of which had a similar consensus: President Donald Trump will not be re-elected. How are polls conducted? What went wrong in 2016? How accurate are they in 2020?  To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Dr. Courtney Kennedy (Director of Survey Research at the Pew Research Centre) and United States Studies Centre CEO Professor Simon Jackman, co-author of the upcoming brief, “Are pre-election polls accurate?”

Bias of Featured Speakers
Tim Pool

The Silent Majority is REAL, We Have Hard Proof They Exist

Journal Article • July 23, 2020

**Tim Pool is generally left on policy (e.g. healthcare and taxes); however, many of his views regarding cultural politics, guns, and news coverage lean right/libertarian.

Tim and Adam find a new study from the Cato Institute that claims to confirm suspicions of a silent majority. They discuss what might factor into peoples' choices to remain silent when polled, but then take action in the voting booth.

Center
FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight's Pollster Ratings

Poll Rating System • March. 25, 2021

FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings are calculated by analyzing each polling organization’s polls' historical accuracy and methodology. This article demonstrates their methodology.

Center
CNN

How pollsters are trying to fix election polls after 2020

Article • July 19, 2021

Polls in the final weeks of the 2020 election campaign were, on average, farther off the mark from actual election results on average than any election polls in decades, according to a new task force report released Monday. From the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the analysis suggests partisan differences in who chooses to take polls – portending challenges for pollsters trying to avoid similar problems in the future.

Left Bias
Newsmax

Nate Silver: Polling Profession Not ‘Done’ After 2020

Article • November 5, 2020

Sandy Fitzgerald examines the state of professional polling.

Leans Right

For the People Act

CLC

How Can We Advance Democracy in 2021

Video • 1 min • January 28, 2021

The For the People Act will make voting more fair by making registration more accessible, ending partisan gerrymandering, regulating and monitoring election funds, and increasing transparency.

Discussion Questions
1. What do you think of the way elections are held now- do citizens have access to enough information about candidates? 2. Should the voter registration deadline be removed?
No Bias
Newsweek

What is For the People Act and Why is Sen. Joe Manchin Opposing It?

Video • 2 min • June 8, 2021

This video explains the basic provisions of the For the People Act and why it is very unlikely the Senate will not pass the bill.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you agree with the provisions of the bill? Are there some you believe should be taken out or added in order to make it more likely to pass in the Senate?
2. Do you think Democrats should consider revisions if members of their party do not support it?
Center
The NYT Daily Podcast

Lessons from the Demise of a Voting Rights Bill

Podcast • 27 min • June 23, 2021

After the For The People Act failed in the Senate, Michael Barbaro and congressional reporter Nick Fandos discuss the key takeaways of its failure and what this means for Democrats and their fight for voting rights  in the future. They discuss the challenges of putting forth a bill that was originally meant to be symbolic rather than to be put into action.

Discussion Questions
1. Based on how extensive the bill is, do you agree that it was more of a messaging bill to make a point?
2. Do you believe the principle of the filibuster is more important than the principle of passing election reform?
Leans Left
Vox

Why some Democrats are quietly unhappy with the House’s big voting rights bill

Article • April 5, 2021

The article discusses how the complexity of the For the People Act has resulted in a lack of support from Republicans and a filibuster in the Senate.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you agree with Sen. Joe Manchin in that the bill should be bipartisan?
Leans Left
The Federalist

2020 Election Fiasco Favored Democrats, So Now Congress Is Working To Make Sloppiness Permanent

Article • February 10, 2021

After being introduced by the Democrats in January, the For The People Act has many critics warning of its negative effects and burdens it would implement on organizations under its campaign finance reform section.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you agree with critics’ thought processes of the legislation?
Right Bias
The Hill

Biden says he doesn’t want voting rights ‘wrapped up’ in filibuster debate

Article • July 21, 2021

After the For the People Act failed in the Senate, Democrats began to push for an end to the filibuster especially for an issue as prominent and urgent as voting rights. However, President Biden is still hopeful for some compromise despite standing against the filibuster as well.

Discussion Questions
1. Should the filibuster be abolished in order to pass voting rights?
2. Do you think President Biden is right to be hopeful for compromise? Why or why not?
Center

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