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Lesson 2: The different ways to cast your vote

Students prepare to cast their real or mock ballots. Which way will they prefer to vote? (10 minutes)

Vote street art


Put students into small group breakout rooms and ask them to discuss their responses to the previous lesson on voting by mail. Will you, or would you cast your ballot in person, or by mail during the next election? What are the reasons for your choice?

Review Key Terms

Mail-in ballot, polling place, poll worker, City or County Commissioners, satellite election office, drop box 

Authentic Performance Task/Whole Class Instruction

We will learn the various ways that voters can cast their ballot and students can make a plan (real or mock) to vote.

  • Students will learn how to apply for a mail-in ballot and several possible ways of returning a completed mail-in ballot.
  • Students will next learn how to find their polling place and make a plan to vote on Election Day.
  • Eligible students will have the opportunity to apply to be a paid poll worker.
  • All students will be asked to make a social media post (real or hypothetical) about why it’s important to vote, or why they plan to vote themselves.

Important! Eligible voters will have the opportunity in this lesson to actually apply for a mail-in ballot, however if they choose to vote in person, they should not submit a mail-in ballot application. Further, this lesson should be done with no less than three weeks before the election tto ensure that eligible voters can complete the process before the deadline.

Check for prior knowledge

If you’ve chosen to vote by mail, why is it important to apply early?

View the image: Flatten the Ballot Request Curve - Is this a graph based on actual data or research from a reputable source? What idea does the image convey? What is the purpose of the image? Do you agree with the purpose of the image? The image is not an actual graph, but an image in the style of a graph to convey an idea and prompt action by the viewer—in short, it’s propaganda. Conversation can be prompted about the message of tthe image, as well as the purpose and value of propaganda.

Asynchronous Reading/Homework

Philly is about to get $10 million for mail ballot drop boxes, early voting, and raises for poll workers–Jonathan Lai, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 26, 2020 [PDF copy used with permission from the Philadelphia Inquirer]

Discussion Questions:
❑ The author states, “ November the city will essentially have to run two elections, at the same time, on an unprecedented scale....” What is meant by this statement and what does it mean for voters?
❑ Define “satellite election office’ and “drop box.” What will they allow voters to do?
❑ What problems were revealed by the June 2020 Primary Election “stress test?”
❑ What arguments might supporters and opponents of drop boxes and satellite election offices raise?
❑ Is there evidence that supports fears of widespread coordinated voter fraud?
❑ What security measures should be put in place to allay such fears?