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January 5, 2021

Classroom Resource: Georgia voters to decide balance of power in Senate

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Directions: Watch the short video clip featuring Amy Walter and Tamara Keith, then read the summary below and the articles linked within the summary, and then answer the discussion questions. If you would like to focus only on the Georgia runoff election, you can stop the video at the 5:09 mark. To read a transcript of the video, click here

Summary: Today, voters in Georgia go to the polls to vote on both of the state’s senators as part of a runoff election. If both Democratic candidates are elected, Democrats will control the Senate in the next term. If one or both Republicans are elected, then Republicans will maintain control of the Senate while Democrats control the House and presidency. Early evidence suggests the races are highly competitive.

  • Even if Democrats take control of the Senate, formal rules of the Senate may make it difficult for the party to push forward an aggressive agenda with the slimmest possible majority.
  • If Republicans win at least one of the races, Republicans will have more power to oppose incoming President Biden’s administration, from legislative priorities to cabinet and judicial posts.
  • Meanwhile, some Republicans are set to challenge President-elect Biden’s win tomorrow in Congress when the legislature meets to formally announce the results. Though the challenges are expected to delay the process for hours, there is no path for challengers to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Discussion:

Warm up questions: 

  1. What are the stakes of the current Georgia Senate runoff?
  2. Who is running, and who are currently Georgia’s incumbent senators?
  3. Why is this runoff happening now, months after the general election?
  4. When and where will a new president be inaugurated?
  5. How will the outcome of the current senate race affect the actions of the federal government over the next two years?

Focus questions:

  1. Georgia is one of only a few states that allows runoff elections if a candidate fails to receive a majority of votes in a pool of more than two candidates. Why do you think each state has its own rules and procedures for national elections?

Media literacy: Who would you want reporters to speak with to better understand the importance of this election or the plans for election certification in Congress? 

Additional resources: 

  • As we start a new year, what are some stories you might have missed from 2020? Use this lesson plan to have your students make a magazine of news clippings from the previous year.
  • You can also use this classroom resource to look back at stories that may have gone under-reported in 2020.

 


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