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October 27, 2020

What should students know with one week until the election?

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

Summary: The 2020 elections will take place one week from today on Tuesday, November 3. Still, more than 60 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early in-person and absentee voting. That number is approaching half the total votes cast in 2016 and represents an early voting record. Both presidential candidates are focused on closing messages and driving voters to the polls, but there is more at stake than just the presidential election.

  • President Trump is spending his final week of the campaign hosting large rallies in battleground states (states where the presidential vote has been close in past elections or expected to be in this election, sometimes also called swing states). Meanwhile, Biden is doing fewer events and is targeting some states that have traditionally voted for Republican presidents, such as Georgia and Texas.
  • Meanwhile, Trump hopes to win back the House of Representatives for Republicans and keep control of the Senate. Experts believe it is very unlikely that the House is up for grabs for Republicans, and most expect Democrats to expand their control. Based on current polling there is also a good chance that the Senate flips to Democratic control, though likely with a slim majority if it happens.
  • Voters won’t just be marking ballots for the national elections this year. There are many down ballot local races, ballot initiatives and judges for voters in different communities to choose from this year.

Discussion:

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

    • Who are some of the candidates running on the ballot in your community that you know of?
    • What are the differing strategies of the two presidential campaigns, according to this piece?
    • When and where will voters record their votes this year?
    • Why is President Trump focusing on voters who already support him, according to this piece?
    • How has this presidential election cycle been different from past cycles?

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

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think is the best strategy for a candidate at any level to turn out voters close to an election?
  2. Do you think national or local elections will have more of an impact on your life? Why do you think so?

Media literacy: As elections approach, misinformation in the media and online tends to increase. What are some ways you determine fact from fiction regarding the election?

  • Interested teachers and students can review this lesson on media fact and fiction online, or watch the video below.

Dig deeper: What special concerns are common among members of the generation following Millennials? To start the conversation, watch the video below, taken from Student Reporting Labs’s Face the Facts Town Hall. If you would like to access a full lesson on the video, click here. Then ask your students: What concerns do you think are especially important to their generation?

 


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