This week we interrupt our regularly scheduled Learning Snacks to deliver you some support during this particularly intense season.
You already know the 2020 Presidential election is right around the corner, and WOW has this season been a whopper! Lots of educators walk a thin line – keeping their own opinions out of the lesson, but still necessarily talking about politics, the 2020 election, and what’s happening in the media surrounding both. If you’re looking for opportunities to engage learners in structured civic discussions about all things election without the risk of a tight rope walk, check out the Thinkalong topics below.
Is Money Speech? In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in the landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to deregulate campaign donations made by corporations and labor unions. This decision allowed these organizations to spend unlimited amounts on issue advertising and contributions to political organizations. Is unlimited spending by large political donors constitutional or does it impede fair and ethical politics?
Should all Americans vote by mail? In a democracy, every eligible voter has the right to cast a ballot and have it counted. While each state determines its own voting laws in the U.S., many people have begun pushing for all states to accept ballots by mail, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to keep voters from heading to the polls in person. Opponents say mail-in voting can cause all kinds of problems, including uncounted ballots and voter fraud. Is universal vote-by-mail pushing the envelope?
Should the U.S. abolish the electoral college? The Electoral College votes every four years to elect the President and Vice President. Some proponents argue that one person should equal one vote, and that the electoral college takes power from the people. Others argue it’s a vital component of states’ rights and to eliminate it would mean the most populous states have too much control.
Should we make voting mandatory? In the 2016 election, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots and turnout was especially low for voters under 30. Some countries, like Australia, increase voter turnout by making it mandatory. Prominent activists, academics, and lawmakers say that mandatory voting will strengthen our democracy, while others remark that the right to vote also includes the right not to vote.
Should we lower the voting age? Voting rights are always a topic of conversation during election season and even well afterward, but some teens under voting age are bringing national attention to their own inability to vote. They say that teens pay taxes and are mature enough to understand the consequences of their vote, but critics say the responsibility is too much
Find out more at Thinkalong.org, and see what you — and your friends —think about these issue, and others.