Jeffrey Brown speaks with Rick Hasen, Election Law Professor of the University of California, Irvine.
Early on Friday, Nov. 6, Joe Biden pulled ahead in counts in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Though still close, many experts believe these leads all but assure that Biden will win enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Even a reversal in one of those states or another state where Biden is expected to win would not result in a Trump win. Still, President Donald Trump and his campaign have begun contesting results and voting procedures through lawsuits in state and federal courts. Many of these suits have already been dismissed by judges.
Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. For a transcript of the video, click here.
Also in the news:
- In other national election results, Republicans have picked up several House seats, though Democrats still control the House. While Democrats added a seat in the Senate, it wasn’t enough to claim a majority. Still, the two Georgia Senate seats will be decided in runoff elections early next year, giving Democrats a chance to reach a 50/50 tie, which would give them control of the Senate if Biden wins the presidency. This is because the vice president is considered the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, so a Vice President Harris would give Democrats control.
- While national attention was largely focused on the election, COVID-19 infection rates continued to spike across the country. Newly reported cases per day crossed 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.
A Contested Election: Discussion Questions
Warm Up Questions:
- What are some of the claims about voting or election irregularity the Trump campaign is making in court, and what evidence do they have of these claims?
- Where are votes still being counted and where is Trump contesting results?
- Why does the expert in this video think the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have little chance of changing outcomes?
- Who is the expert interviewed in this piece and what is his background?
- When will the results of the election become official?
- Why do you think election rules and laws are set at the state level for national offices such as president?
- What are some ways voting could be made more accessible, more transparent or safer?
Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?
This isn’t the first election in US history that has been contested well after election day. To learn more about contested elections, check out this lesson plan.
Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.