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Posts from the ‘vote’ Category

Limit voting rights in 3 easy steps. (And how to teach your students about it.) Gerrymandering 101.

It’s as American as apple pie. We’ve been finding ways to re-organize voting districts to our advantage for years. Heck, the Kansas legislature just did it.

But I don’t think we spend enough time having kids explore the whole gerrymandering thing as part of our government / civics engagement instruction. And I don’t think enough of us or our students truly understand the power that redistricting can have on the democratic process.

“As a mapmaker, I can have more impact on an election than a campaign. More of an impact than a candidate. When, I as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system is out of whack.”

David Winston
Republican redistricting consultant following 1990 Census

Quick primer. Gerrymandering is the legislative act of creating voting maps that favor your particular political party. And according to a Wired article from a few years ago, it usually involves one of two different tools:

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Live blog #mcss17: Inspiring Local Learners in a Global Community

Two words that you really don’t want to hear in the same sentence:

            Minnesota / February

As in, “Hey. I can’t wait to travel to Minnesota in the middle of February.”

But when the two involve the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies annual conference, I’ll risk it. Lots of great people in Minnesota doing some awesome things in the social studies and I am honored to be a part of it. (My session on 3D History is later this afternoon – I’ll post a few details from that preso later this evening.)

I’ll be live blogging throughout the day on some of the cool stuff I’m learning. So be sure to refresh.

Opening Keynote
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Secretary Simon highlighted the importance of what social studies teachers do every day by sharing examples of how well Minnesota participates in elections

 We are voters. We work hard at building civic engagement.

The state is the number one state in voter turnout nine of the last 10 elections because of “laws and culture.” He highlighted the efforts that Minnesota makes to ensure that voter registration is as easy as possible with same day and online voter registration. Simon also discussed how early and absentee voting is encouraged.

The state also works hard to encourage kids to vote. I like how Simon talked about how getting younger kids to participate takes more than just using idealistic arguments such as “it’s good for the country” and “it’s your patriotic duty.” Simon suggests that we need to also encourage younger voters to participate also based on self interest and “to be part of something.” That kids need to be encouraged to vote and participate because it will make their lives, and the lives of people they know, better. So Minnesota uses a massive outreach program into the school system to support this sort of civic engagement.

He shared the saying on a tee shirt:  “Choosing not to vote isn’t a sign of rebellion, it’s a sign of surrender.” They work very hard to help kids understand that participating is the smarter choice.

And with the highest rate of voter turnout anywhere in the US, Read more

I Voted: Voting Information Project

If you haven’t already figured it out, I can be a bit of a cynic. And becoming more so as the last ads of the campaign cycle through. (I’m looking at you Kansas Governor Brownback. Seriously? You’re running this ad?)

But I’m a firm believer that one of the most important duties we have as US citizens is to vote. In every election. Dogcatcher to president. So next Tuesday is already on my calendar. The sad thing is that many of us won’t be voting next week. Typical turnout for midterm elections is around 40%. And I thing that at least some of that has to do with a lack of information.

Where do I vote? When are voting hours? Sad to say but I still hear questions such Who’s running?

To help solve some of the confusion the Voting Information Project (VIP), developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Google, and election officials nationwide, is offering tools that give voters access to the customized information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.

The widget below comes from the VIP. Get your own embed code here. Get the WordPress code here.

And help get people to where they belong next Tuesday.

(Need a few more election tools? Head here for a quick list.)

2014 Mid-Term election resources

Many of you have asked for specific resources that focus on the upcoming mid-term elections. Hopefully this quick list of tools will help:

Democratic Party
Republican Party

Politifact
“Sorting out the truth in politics”
Access. Analyze. Act
Discover the power of social media while promoting your students’ civic engagement
CNN Election Center
FactCheck

Monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players
FactCheckED
FactCheck’s educator’s page
OpenSecrets
Who’s buying your politician?
FiveThirtyEight
Originally designed for the 2008 election, this site does a great job breaking down election data
Electoral Vote
T
racks political polls for U.S. federal elections
Yahoo Political Dashboard
Same thing, just from Yahoo
HuffPost Election Center
HuffPost Pollster
Great charts and graphs
Talking Points Memo Poll Tracker
All Sides Election Center
Sweet site that provides news / commentary from left, center, right perspectives
RealClearPolitics

VoteSmart / VoteEasy
How to vote and who you should vote for

C-Span’s Election Classroom
Center for Action Civics
Student News Daily

Tip of the Week: Voting Information Goodies

Apparently the election is over and the results are in.

The Scholastic Student Vote started earlier this fall and ended  this week. President Obama finished with 51%, Governor Romney finished with 45%, and 4% of the kids voted for another candidate. The Vote may not be official, but its results have often indicated who eventually wins the presidential race. Scholastic has conducted the student mock vote during every presidential election since 1940 and the results have mirrored the actual outcome of all but two elections—1948, when kids voted for Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman, and 1960, when they selected Richard M. Nixon over John F. Kennedy.

I’ll post more election goodies next week but thought I would start with some voting information so that you can get you own mock election started. Read more