Debating Voting Issues, Representativeness, and Reforms
In this edition, Students in Action looks at whether the U.S. election system truly allows every citizen's voice to be heard. Despite the image of the United States as a model of democracy, many citizens were denied the right to vote early in our country's history. After the 2000 presidential election, many have questioned whether this is still the case: do problems with voter registration and voting technology effectively deny citizens the right to have their voices heard?
Whose Voice Is Heard? examines the history of the right to vote in the United States and how the path to universal suffrage has not been smooth and steady. Outlined are the various factors that prevented people from voting and the forces that helped overcome resistance to a broad franchise. You'll also learn how, despite the fact that almost all adult American citizens are legally entitled to vote today, not everyone's voice is heard equally: low voter turnout and greater participation in the political process by the more affluent result in some voices being heard more than others. ( Activities related to this article.)
Do Our Judges 'Represent' the People? looks at how presidents often have used "representativeness" as a criterion when nominating federal judges. Can judges who represent specific groups remain neutral? How many symbolic appointments should the Supreme Court accommodate? You'll examine these questions and others. ( Activities related to this article.)
How Should U.S. Elections Be Managed? explores how the last presidential election has led to the re-examination of the country's voting processes. You'll learn about the problems with voter registration, which is the single largest contributing factor to low voter turnout. Also examined are the five types of voting technologies used throughout the country, including those that are most-and least-reliable. A sidebar explains why our country's founders adopted the Electoral College and some of the controversy surrounding its existence. ( Activities related to this article.)
Completing the Take Action! activities at the end of each section will help you begin to participate in and influence the public debates surrounding these and other issues your generation will encounter that involve our voting and judicial systems. You can get started by completing the introductory Take Action! activity below.
Take Action! Introduction. Take a few minutes to think about how much you know about the election system in the United States. When is Election Day? How many Electoral College votes are needed to win the presidency? Where is the first presidential primary traditionally held? Take the State of the Vote Trivia Challenge to test your knowledge.
Student Central | Students in Action | Debating Voting Issues, Representativeness, and Reforms
Whose Voice Is Heard? | Do Our Judges "Represent" the People?
How Should U.S. Elections Be Managed?