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Research and Communication: Lessons Applied: Elections

This guide is primarily for use by 8th grade research students but contains helpful information for all students.

Why Does Voting Matter?

"I have said this before, and I will say it again: the vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy."

-- John Lewis

Many people are skeptical or even apathetic when it comes to their ability to vote openly in elections at all levels, but what do the experts and activists say on this issue? Read a host of remarks here from some people you may have heard of before.

It is important to recognize that voting does not end with federal elections and the famous political figures who stress their importance. The Rock the Vote organization makes a strong case for voting in local elections that you can read here.

Who Deserves Your Vote?

This is a question that only you can answer, however there are resources out there to help you make the most informed decision possible.

Have you ever wondered where on the ideological spectrum you fall and how that compares to your preferred politician? The Political Compass quiz can help you figure that out -- take the quiz and compare the results using this link.

Keeping up with the issues can be difficult, but there are some key organizations and informational projects that can help you keep track of a variety of different subjects and how a politician's statements on any issue stacks up against the facts:

Whether people like it or not, Twitter has become a key rhetorical arena in regards to politics and government. This website has been designed to categorize any politician's tweets into areas of interest (economics, race relations, etc). Be sure to follow this site's progress, as it is a new project that just launched (check out their "about" page if you encounter issues and send them a note to help make the algorithm work better): 

Having Trouble With Logistics?

Voting processes can be tricky to figure out, but understanding what goes into the voting process and what you need to do to vote effectively and on time is important.

Check here for an overview guide on all things related to elections and voting rights.

If you want to be a bit more specific, each individual state has an elections board to make sure their local citizens understand what is needed. Here is the Tennessee guide to voting.

Election Interference and Voter Suppression

You have probably heard the phrases "election interference" and "voter suppression" used recently, but what do those concepts mean and what do they look like? Here are some scholarly articles on the subjects: