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Lesson Plans

Trump claims widespread voter fraud despite no evidence

November 11, 2020

Full Lesson



Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript of the video above, click here

Summary: President Donald Trump refuses to concede his electoral defeat, and his campaign is launching an all-out legal campaign to challenge the results. So far, efforts have gained little traction in the courts. 

  • Trump would need to reverse a deficit of tens of thousands of votes in multiple states to take the Electoral College vote lead from Joe Biden. Though recounts and challenges can affect the final vote tally in states, it typically does so by a few hundred or fewer, not thousands or tens of thousands.
  • According to Republican elections lawyer Ben Ginsberg, there is no firm evidence of voter fraud or irregularities that would change the vote totals in any meaningful way.
  • Some Trump supporters (and President Trump himself) claim it is suspicious that Trump’s large leads in some states such as Pennsylvania were reversed after Election Day. However, across many battleground states, proportionally more Democrats than Republicans took advantage of early voting, especially vote by mail. This difference in voting method by party resulted in skewed early voting counts in some states, since in many states mailed in ballots were not counted until after in-person Election Day votes.


Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

    • Who officially decides when states have been won by one candidate or the other?
    • What are some of the challenges Trump may have in changing results through legal challenges?
    • When and where are ballots being challenged?
    • Why are challenges to vote tallies unlikely to change results?
    • How has voting been different this year than most years?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. If legal challenges and recounts are not likely to change the count or results in any meaningful way, why do you think Trump is making these challenges?
  2. Do you think these challenges and recounts will increase or decrease voters’ confidence in the final results?

Media literacy: How do you decide what information you find online about election challenges and claims of voter fraud an irregularity are reliable or not?

  • If interested in a lesson exploring how to spot disinformation online, click here.

Additional resources:

  • Use this lesson to explore how previous contested elections shaped history, including the contest of 2000.
  • This lesson covers changes in ballot technology and formats through US history.
  • This lesson explores lowering the voting age to 16.


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