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Should it be easier to vote in the United States?

The rollback of the Voting Rights Act has recently brought criticism about voter suppression across the United States. As a result, states have begun revisiting voter registration and identification requirements, voter purging practices, the use of mail-in absentee ballots, and poll accessibility. The goal is to ensure that complicated voting processes are not discouraging people from voting, or even worse, resulting in voter suppression. Is voting in the U.S. too hard?

investigate

How the pandemic has complicated voting access for millions of Native Americans

Additional resources to think about

Why is voting in the US so difficult? | TED Ideas
An interview with two election officials about the voter registration and voting processes in America.

Ballot Watch
This website from Frontline tracks the status of laws enacting or repealing voting requirements within every state in the US.

Who Can and Can’t Vote in U.S. Elections
This website outlines, in simple terms, what the general legal requirements are to be able to vote. However, things get a little more complicated as you navigate voter requirements in the various states.

Election Laws May Discourage Some From Voting, Even If They Are Allowed
This NPR clip takes a look at obstacles to voting such as voter ID laws and an individual’s criminal record to question whether voting requirements are discouraging people from voting.

Why Don't (More) Americans Vote?
In this episode of The Good Stuff, the team explores why more eligible voters in the U.S. don't cast ballots.

contemplate

Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?

 

What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What's the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?

 

Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com

debate

Should it be easier to vote in the United States?

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