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Teacher Resources

Vote Worthy Teacher Resources for High School Students

While the presidential administration in Washington, D.C., has been determined for the next four years, other local, state and federal elections will be taking place across the country at various intervals. Young voters may have questions about issues related to election process or desire to clarify their own views and opinions further. This Vote Worthy Teacher Resource Guide is meant to serve as a bridge between the Vote Worthy podcasts with social studies and civic lessons that are being taught in high school classrooms. With the assistance of the Kentucky Department of Education Social Studies Resource Coordinators, civics teachers in the Commonwealth, and talented education researchers, this study guide will complement what students are hearing via Vote Worthy and encourage them to stretch their minds, viewpoints, and understanding of the democratic society in which we live.

Click on the links below to open the resource.

 

Role-Play the Vote

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 1  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Federalism and the Electoral College: Are States Still Relevant?

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 1 Listen here
 
Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Women's Suffrage: Idealism and Reality

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 2  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Gerrymandering: How Do We Make Sure Voting is Representative?

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 2  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Salamanders and Politics

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 2  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards. Additional sections include:

Is Voter Fraud a Big Deal?

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 3  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

 

Election Laws in Kentucky

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 3  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Voting Rights: How Should We Balance Our Citizen's Access to Their Constitutional Voting Rights with Keeping Elections Secure?

Uses Vote Worthy Part 1 Segment 3  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

-Inner Outer Discussion Rubric

-TAG Feedback form

Local Government

Uses Vote Worthy Part 2 Podcast 4  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

 

Should the Voting Age Be Lowered?

Uses Vote Worthy Part 2 Podcast 4  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

What Does It Mean to Be American?

Uses any of the Vote Worthy Segments  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Student-Created Podcasting

Uses any of the Vote Worthy Segments  Listen here

Includes background reading, discussion questions, key vocabulary, teaching tips, suggested activity, and Kentucky Academic Standards.

Supplemental Resources

 
  • The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution. An interactive guide with original text and explanations of the meaning of each article and amendment
  • The Avalon Project (Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library). Dozens of documents relating to law, history, and diplomacy, including The American Constitution-A Documentary Record and The Federalist Papers
  • Ballotpedia. Searchable online “encyclopedia of American politics.”
  • GovTrack.us. Comprehensive source of legislative information and statistics. Includes extensive information about Kentucky politics and public policy.
  • iCivics website. Nonpartisan Civis education resource founded by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’cConner is 2009; includes games and curriculum units on a wide range of topics.
  • Joshuaadouglas.com. The blog of University of Kentucky law professor Joshua A. Douglas, who is featured in the Vote Worthy podcasts. Includes information about his book and links to numerous articles he has written on a variety of topics relating to voting and elections.
  • Kentucky Educational Television Public Affairs web pages. Information about public affairs programing on Kentucky Educational Television (KET), whose managing producer Renee Shaw is featured in the Vote Worthy series. Includes links to KET live streams of Kentucky General Assembly sessions and key committee meetings.
  • Kentucky Legislative Research Commission website. Official website of Kentucky’s General Assembly, including comprehensive information on legislators, bills, and Kentucky laws, along with informational bulletins and teacher resources.
  • National Youth Rights Association website. Information on a variety of issues relating to youth rights, including extensive resources on voting age.
  • PBS Electoral Decorder. An interactive cartogram that enables students to explore all presidential elections to date. Found in PBS LearningMedia, a searchable repository which has numerous other resources relating to elections and civic.
  • United States Courts website. Information about federal courts, judges, and judgeships, including Educational Resources.
 

Glossary

19th Amendment: ratified August 18, 1920, the amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote

abridged:  diminished or reduced in scope

absentee ballot: a ballot completed and cast (or mailed in) before an election by a voter who is unable to be present at the polls

absentee voting: voting by mail before election day

advocacy: public support for a cause or policy

Alpha Suffrage Club: the first black women’s suffrage club in Chicago, founded in 1913 by Ida. B Wells; its goals included giving voice to African-American women (who were excluded from national suffrage organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association) and promoting the election of African Americans to public office.

amendment: an addition or to the U.S. Constitution

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): an American social reformer and women’s rights advocate who played a key role in the women’s suffrage movement

ballot box:  a sealed container used to store paper voting ballots before they are counted; often used as a symbolic name for voting in general

bipartisan: representing the involvement or input of more than one political party

butterfly ballot: a ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, during the 2000 presidential election; the space that voters pressed to mark their choices was misaligned with the row of the given candidates, causing some people to accidentally vote for a candidate other than the one they intended to vote for

census: a complete counting of a population and recording of specific information. In the United States, an official census is legally mandated by the Constitution to take place every ten years. The results determine, among other things, the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House or Representatives.

constituents: voters

contiguous: connecting without a break

cracking the vote: drawing district lines so that like-minded voters are split into multiple districts to dilute their voting power

denied: refused

direct election: an election in which people vote directly for the person, persons or political party that they want to see elected to a political position

drop box: public boxes into which voters can drop their ballots as opposed to going to a polling location to vote in person

early voting: a process to allow voters to cast their ballots before a scheduled election day

election fraud: illegal interference with the results of an election, either by artificially raising or lowering the number of votes cast for a given candidate or party

Electoral College: Established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College is the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States.

faithless electors: Electoral College electors who do not vote for the candidates for whom the elector had pledged to vote and instead vote for another person

federalism: a type of government in which the nation is not simply one single unit, but a collection of state governments under the banner of one national government, each of which has important roles, responsibilities, and identities

free and fair election: an election in which voters can decide whether or not to vote and can vote freely for the candidate or party of their choice without fear or intimidation and in which all voters have an equal opportunity to register and have their votes counted

draft: mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed forces

general election: a regularly held election for political office

geopolitical unit: a political jurisdiction or area based on location

gerrymandering: drawing the boundaries of an electoral district to favor one party or class

interstate compact: An agreement between two or more states

Kentucky General Assembly: the state legislature of Kentucky, comprised of the Kentucky Senate and Kentucky House of Representatives

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (LRC): Created in 1948, this state agency provides support to the state legislature. It is co-chaired by the President of the Kentucky Senate and the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Sixteen members are selected form the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The LRC provides staff and research support, produces educational materials, and maintains a reference library and website.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973): the 36th President of the United States; among his achievements was signing into law the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in access to voting

municipality: a city or town that has corporate status and local government

National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA): an organization founded in 1869 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton that worked for women’s right to vote

National Popular Vote plan: A plan that has been enacted into law in 15 states that will, if and when it takes effect, award all the Electoral College votes belonging to those states to the winner of the national popular vote rather than to the winner of the state popular vote

National Woman’s Party: an American political organization formed in 1911 to work for women’s suffrage; its main leader was Alice Paul.

nonpartisan: not biased toward any particular political party

packing the vote: drawing district lines so that like-minded voters are packed into as few districts as possible

partisan: representing the involvement or input of a single political party

Alice Paul (1885-1977): an American suffragist and women’s rights advocate who was a primary strategist in the work to pass the 19th amendment

polarization: division into two sharply contrasting groups

political machine: in U.S. politics, a party organization, often headed by a single boss or small group, that controls the votes of supporters to maintain political and administrative control of a city, county, or state

political platform: a candidate or political party’s statement of principles, goals and stands on issues

poll tax: tax of a fixed sum on every liable individual regardless of income or resources. Prior to 1965, payment of a poll tax was required in order to register to vote in a number of states.  

popular vote: in the U.S. presidential election, the vote made directly by qualified voters as opposed to the Electoral College

primary election: an election to determine which candidates will represent political parties in the general election

ranked choice voting: A system of voting that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference rather than simply voting for one candidate

ratification: formal confirmation

redistricting: the redrawing of political district lines following the U.S> Census to reflect population representation

regulatory safeguards: laws or regulatory measures put into place to help ensure that elections are fair and free

Shelby County v. Holder: a landmark 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the constitutionality of a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; had important ramifications for modern voting rights

suffrage: the legal right to vote in elections

turnout: the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in an election

urban-county government: one unified jurisdiction that includes one or more cities and their surrounding county

vote by mail: Every state allows mail-in voting, but many restrict eligibility for mail-in voting by certain criteria. In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states gave all voters an excuse to vote in the General Election.

voter fraud: an intentional corruption of the election process in which an individual voter or voters engage in activities such as duplicate voting, impersonation of another voter in order to vote twice, vote selling, or voting where or when not eligible to vote

voter suppression: activities intended to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting; strategies (usually laws) that seek to influence the outcome of elections by preventing or discouraging certain citizens or groups of citizens from casting their votes; common voter suppression techniques include things that make it difficult for voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote, for example, shortening the hours when polling places are open

voting bloc: a group of voters whose common concern or concerns around certain issues are so strong that it tends to dominate their voting decisions, causing them to vote together in elections

Ida. B. Wells (1862-1931): An African American journalist, educator and leader in the early civil rights and women’s suffrage movements; she was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909.

“winner takes all”: an Electoral College approach in which the winner of the most popular votes receives all of that state’s electors; every state with the exception of Maine and Nebraska use this system

women’s suffrage: the right of women by law to vote