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October 8, 2021

Daily News Lesson: How false claims of election fraud are eroding American democracy

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC.

Summary: For a deeper look at the efforts to undermine election integrity in the United States — and what can be done to stop it — Judy Woodruff is joined by Rick Hasen, professor at the University of California Irvine, and author of the book “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy.”

Discussion questions: 

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

  • Who is interviewed in this piece, and what is his background?
  • What are some of Hasen’s concerns about the integrity of U.S. elections?
  • When and Where did false fraud claims start to threaten electoral systems?
  • Why was the U.S. on the verge of a “a political and constitutional crisis”?
  • How could U.S. elections be improved to safeguard them against attacks and mistrust?

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think are some good ways to ensure trust in the fairness of the country’s elections?
  2. What do you think are the best ways to ensure the security and accuracy of results?
  3. Are trust in the results of elections and security of elections the same? Why or why not?

Media literacy: How do you think someone that doubts the fairness of the 2020 presidential election (such as Donald Trump) respond to Hasen? Do you think such a voice should be given equal time to respond? Why or why not?

Additional resources:

  • For more on President Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and the long-term effects on trust and polarized perceptions of election integrity, watch the following report from Amna Nawaz.


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