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election workers in 2020

October 25, 2023

Exploring Ways to Build Faith and Security in U.S. Elections

Ask students: What is the central concern raised? When did the report on recommendations for protecting American elections come out?


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Last month, a group of election experts warned that American democracy is under great stress. Their report outlines 24 recommendations spanning law, media, politics and tech to protect American elections. Rick Hasen, the director of UCLA Law School's Safeguarding Democracy Project who convened the panel of experts that drafted that report, joins Lisa Desjardins to discuss.

For a transcript, click here.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • Who are some of the key figures mentioned in the discussion?
  • What is the central concern raised?
  • When did the report on recommendations for protecting American elections come out?
  • Why is it important to protect and support election workers?
  • Where is Rick Hasen's university based? What is the main focus of his center?

Focus Questions

If free elections are the backbone of democracies, and American democracy is truly in peril, what needs to happen in regards to safeguarding U.S. elections?

*Include Hasan's ideas if you agree, and additional safeguards. If you don't agree, explain why. Discuss what alternatives for governing exist besides democracy.

Media literacy: How can news outlets cover divisions within political parties without contributing to a larger political divide in America?

Extension Discussion

Discuss with a friend, neighbor or classmate — how does the decentralization of the U.S. election system impact the speed and accuracy of reporting election results?

Then read the following highlights from a Stanford History Education Group's (SHEG) study.

  • "Fifty-two percent of students believed a grainy video claiming to show ballot stuffing in the 2016 Democratic primaries (the video was actually shot in Russia) constituted “strong evidence” of voter fraud in the U.S. Among more than 3,000 responses, only three students tracked down the source of the video, even though a quick search turns up a variety of articles exposing the ruse."
  • "Two-thirds of students couldn’t tell the difference between news stories and ads (set off by the words “Sponsored Content”) on Slate’s homepage."
  • "Ninety-six percent of students did not consider why ties between a climate change website and the fossil fuel industry might lessen that website’s credibility. Instead of investigating who was behind the site, students focused on superficial markers of credibility: the site’s aesthetics, its top-level domain, or how it portrayed itself on the About page."

What do you think are the connections between civics (voting, elections, etc.) and media literacy, including digital evaluation of sources?

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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