Students learn about state election laws and the debate around mail ballots. (45 minutes)
We have two mail options for voting in Pennsylvania: Vote in person (at your polling place) or vote with a mail-in ballot. Create a T-chart with these two options and ask students to post reasons for choosing each one. Then ask students to write in their notebooks which they would choose if they had the option and give a few reasons why.
Ward, precinct, division, polling place, absentee ballot, mail-in ballot, poll worker,
voting machine, provisional ballot
What is in the news that catches your attention? What do you care about? What
makes you angry? Sad? Happy? Frustrated? What do you support? What are you against? What needs to change?
Each state makes its own election laws, so every state is different. [Refer to the Election Clause of the US Constitution in the prior timeline activity]. Pennsylvania divides voting areas up into wards and precincts/divisions.
In 2020, there was a public disagreement between groups claiming
rampant vote-by-mail fraud and favoritism toward one party, and groups claiming voting by mail is safe and nonpartisan. Assign students selected readings to explore these controversies (asynchronous). Then have students debate the various positions on these issues (synchronous). A sampling of readings is included below, and current readings can be added by teacher and
Media Analysis: Use the Media Bias Chart to help students understand the context and bias of news sources. How does the bias of the news source correspond to their positions on these issues? What sources and statements are credible and which are not? How can you tell?