Electing a President

1. What do you see in the cartoon?

2. What does the layout of the maze convey about our electoral process?

3. What do you think this cartoon suggests?

4. Do you agree with the point that the cartoonist is making? Why or why not? If not, how might you revise the cartoon to reflect your perspective?

Additional Activities

1. Stage a debate around the constitutional requirements for the presidency— natural-born citizen, age 35, and 14 years residency. Are these requirements adequate? If not, what requirements do students propose? Consider using the National Constitution Center’s “Town Hall Wall”  asking “Should we amend the Constitution to let foreign-born U.S. citizens become president?”  to inspire a conversation.

2. Assemble a constitutional convention to discuss reforming the Electoral College. Note that C-SPAN offers free electoral vote maps to classrooms, along with lesson plans, on their website.

3. Students might research current Electoral College reform proposals in Congress. If your state’s senators or representatives have sponsored or supported a proposal, consider inviting that person to your classroom.

4. Find your state’s Certificates of Vote from the 2008 election online from the National Archives. Ask students to analyze the documents, and discuss what role they play in the electoral process. The National Archives also offers a document analysis worksheet.

5. Determine when and where your state’s electors are meeting to certify their votes following the 2012 election. Find out if the proceedings are open to the public or televised. Consider inviting an elector to your classroom to discuss the voting process with students.

Ask students to research whether or not your state is part of, or debating participation in, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.  If your state legislature is debating participation, students might write letters to representatives sharing their thoughts on the issue.




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Insights on Law and Society is edited by Tiffany Middleton. She can be reached at tiffany.middleton@americanbar.org