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A voter registration table at the University of Texas at Dallas with students registering to vote, in the lead-up to the 2022 United States elections. | Photo credit:  Elli

A voter registration table at the University of Texas at Dallas with students registering to vote, in the lead-up to the 2022 United States elections. | Photo credit: Elli

June 13, 2023

Voter Registration Tool targeted by Conspiracy Theorists

Ask students: Who played a large role in spreading anti-ERIC information and encouraging the public to lobby against ERIC?

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A national tool called the Electronic Registration Information Center helps states verify voter registrations, but a conspiracy theory spread online has inspired many state lawmakers to withdraw from the program. NPR’s Miles Parks speaks with Amna Nawaz about the potential damage to election safety.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • When did Louisiana withdraw from ERIC?
  • According to journalist Miles Parks, why have local integrity groups popped up all over the country in recent years?
  • According to Parks, what false claims did far-right website Gateway Pundit make against ERIC?
  • Who played a large role in spreading anti-ERIC information and encouraging the public to lobby against ERIC?
  • According to Parks, what is the impact of states withdrawing from ERIC?

Focus Questions

What are some of the ways that media can be used to spread misinformation? How can we be more discerning consumers and use the media to learn more accurate information?

Media Literacy: Why do you think this piece focuses so much on specific groups or individuals that spread misinformation?

Extension Activity

What are some examples of misinformation that you’ve encountered? Find a particular statistic or news story and look into specific claims to investigate their validity. Not everything is as it seems! To learn more about navigating media and building your media literacy skills, explore our media literacy lesson plans and check out the collection of resources below.

Addressing Threats to Democracy

Using the January 6 insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation.

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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