America's Election System: Facts and Fiction

The United States' electoral system is complex, decentralized, and administratively driven by states and counties. Varied approaches to voter registration, ID requirements, and the delivery of voter services such as absentee, early, and provisional voting add to the system's complexity. Outcomes are influenced by unbridled campaign financing. Broadcast, print, and social media have reopened long-buried wounds of divisiveness on every front. Foreign bots and trolls are leaving us feeling confused as to how to sort out facts from fiction. Some people are asking whether it's time to abandon the Electoral College system in favor of a true popular vote. New voter suppression tactics, gerrymandering, and out-of-control campaign financing may have some of us questioning our confidence in America's electoral process. In addition to studying how America's election process works, we will track new controversies and court decisions that will impact our elections in the short and long term. Sometimes the obstacles to free and fair elections seem insurmountable, but this class will explore the good news, as well as the bad. Our system is flawed, but it is also strong. We will refortify our faith that as voters, we can make a difference.

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