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Vote!: What's next? After Nov. 3, 2020

Find out information about voting

When will we hear results?

Because vote counting happens by states, and there are many different rules across the country, the answer is not simple. 

The New York Times has this updated site about votes that are still yet to be counted.

They also have a detailed chart of when each state expects to be tallying their results (note that this chart does not seem to be updated as often as the page linked above. For some states, even though the numbers won't be final for some time, the outcome of the election is easy to predict (marked on the chart as D solid or R solid)- in other states, the outcome will be much closer - marked as likely, lean--or if it's very very close, tossup--in the chart). The official certification dates are here in this chart from Ballotopedia.

There are also many current court cases challenging rules about voting that could affect the final count. In several cases, one level of court has ruled one way, but on appeal the higher court has reversed the decision. 

Even after the votes are counted, it is possible that the results will be contested (challenged).

Mythbusting

Have you seen any of the following ideas on social media, and wondering what the story is and if they're true? 

  • Are absentee ballots more secure than mail-in ballots?
  • Are fake votes being filed on behalf of dead people or pets?
  • Will mail-in ballots cause a "rigged" election?

Check out this myth-busting article that addresses those questions, and this article about the myth of "widespread voter fraud".

The New York Times also is frequently updating reports on misinformation related to the 2020 election. 

What is voter suppression? Why does it matter?

Background

Voter suppression takes place when policies discourage or exclude people from exercising their right to vote. These rules don't directly forbid people to vote, but make it very hard for particular groups to vote in practice, and are often put into place as a reaction against those people gaining the right to vote. The United States has a long, long history of restrictive laws targeted against communities of color in particular. 

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act took a step forward in requiring certain states that had a history of unfair and discriminatory laws to seek approval from the federal government before they made changes to their laws.

That protection disappeared when the Supreme Court decided in 2013 that the federal government could no longer oversee changes to state voting laws in their Shelby County v. Holder ruling. Since then, many states (not just the original ones covered by the Voting Rights Act requirement) have created policies aimed at making voting harder.

Resources

The non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice has information about different ways that votes have been suppressed, and offers possible solutions. As they say: "Over the last 20 years, states have put barriers in front of the ballot box — imposing strict voter ID laws, cutting voting times, restricting registration, and purging voter rolls. These efforts, which received a boost when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013, have kept significant numbers of eligible voters from the polls, hitting all Americans, but placing special burdens on racial minorities, poor people, and young and old voters." 

For more on voter suppression in 2020, listen to or read this 5-minute radio interview with the president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

For more on why the 2013 Supreme Court ruling matters, see this article from The Atlantic.

 

Post-election Classroom Activities

Faculty, are you looking for a quick way to engage students in reflective activities related to the Election or myriad other issues? Here are a few activities and prompts that can be incorporated easily into asynchronous classes and synchronous classes. It is challenging for all of us to remain patient as ballots are still being counted, so we hope these activities can provide avenues for expression in our classrooms. Feel free to copy these prompts to share with your students.


Activity:  Six Word Novels

Instructions:  There are no rules other than to use six words. No more. No fewer. You can select six words in your native language and provide translation or write in English.

Sample prompts (select one or write your own):

  • Describe 2020
  • How do you feel post-election?
  • What will 2021 bring?
  • What story will you tell your grandchildren about 2020?

Attributions: Ernest Hemingway’s six-word tale, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” and The Race Card Project Six Word Novels. Adapted by: Sarah Hoiland, Rocio Rayo, and Helen Chang.


Activity: Hostos History Now, A Collective Hostos 2020 Diary

Instructions:  Submit a written, audio, or visual submission telling stories from your life this year. Consider reflecting on voting, elections, your neighborhood, parenting, online education, work, housing and family, quarantine, BLM and protests for racial justice, health care and hospitals, trauma and mourning, the recession, art and literature, music that you listened to, community organizations, local politics, etc.

Write a paragraph or more, submit pictures with captions, and/or record a short video or audio snippet on your phone.

Attribution: New York Public Library’s Pandemic Diaries Project. Adapted by: Helen Chang.


Activity: Future Forecast

Instructions:  No matter the election outcome, everyone has expectations and wishes for the future. What do you want to see happen in the future and how do you envision your role to help make that future possible?

Consider changes in local, state, and national laws and policies, your neighborhood, Hostos, CUNY, your workplace, representation in any area of life, etc. Your role can be voting in local elections, volunteering at a community food pantry, joining a student group at Hostos, signing a petition in support of CUNY, etc.

Write one paragraph or more.

Adapted: Helen Chang


Activity: Understanding Voter Suppression and Activism to Fight It

Instructions:  There is a lot of talk about "voter suppression" in the news. What does it actually mean? What have people done to counter it?

Read this article about one example in South Carolina, and respond to the following prompts:

  • What are at least three obstacles SC citizens may have encountered when trying to cast their ballot?
  • What are at least three ways in which people have mobilized against voter suppression in SC?

Source: Pulitzer Center, adapted by Haruko Yamauchi. See original source for more extensive related activites.

Note: Teaching Tolerance also offers similar ready-made activities that use excerpts from Carol Anderson's book One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy.

 

Additional Resources

Post-Election Uncertainty: 20 Books You Can Count On

The New York Public Library put together a reading list about our electoral process and past elections that did not have an immediate or clear outcome (see link below).

Guide author

Haruko Yamauchi's picture
Haruko Yamauchi