Your Vote, Your Voice 2020

Exercise your right to vote this November and encourage your students to help get out the vote!

HRE USA leaders and partners have come together to encourage everyone to make sure their voice is heard and exercise their civic right to vote this November! To further engage students around voting and participation in government, we have compiled a rich collection of Get Out The Vote student-centered resources, programs, and projects. These resources can be used to create a service-driven civic learning activity or, can be inserted into ongoing social and civic education projects. 

This coalition of  HRE communities encourage any and all educators to use these resources in their teaching practice as we begin our new school year. Remember, some states end voter registration 30 days before Election Day and, in all states, voters are urged to complete early voting or absentee/mail-in voting as soon as they can to avoid last minute delays that might keep their vote from being counted. So we in the HRE Community and our colleagues urge educators to begin now to engage teams of civic minded students to help the rest of us practice democracy this Fall.


VOTING & HUMAN RIGHTS

The right to vote reflects essential civil and political rights. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.” The vitality and inclusiveness of participation in voting is a measure of the strength of democracy in our society. Yet that right is threatened with the challenges of voting during a pandemic and  challenges to the integrity of the voting process itself.  

Young people especially have a central and monumental role to play in the realization of this universal human right at this time and in this place.  Many youth are becoming eligible to vote for the first time while still in high school, as they reach 18 years. Youth not yet 18 are often overlooked as a vital resource in helping members of their families and communities navigate the often confusing path to participating in the vote. Issues surrounding timely registration (closing soon in many states!), availability of mail-in voting, opportunities for early voting and concerns with the mechanics of getting elderly, language minority and economically challenged citizens to the polls create barriers that civically engaged youth can help to overcome. Social studies educators need access to standards-based, helpful and engaging tools and resources to teach their students about the legacy of voting in our country, how to effectively exercise that right, and how to engage civically in our democracy, while also encouraging critical thinking. In many cases, the engagement of teachers and of students with service learning opportunities around voting and civic participation must take place in a virtual setting and amidst challenges to the legitimacy of voting procedures.


Resources


TOOLS TO ENCOURAGE VOTING & PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT

Teaching Guide: The Right to Vote & Participate in Government
Checklist: Get out the Vote Service-Learning Project
Toolkit: Vote for Human Rights Toolkit – Human Rights Watch Student Task Force
Video: Voting 101 Video
Interactive Guide: Plan Your Vote-NBC
Interactive Guide: How To VoteRockTheVote
Interactive Guide/Lessons: Voting and Elections
Article/Guide: Voting for Human Rights: A Guide for 2020
Classroom Resources: Voting and Voices
Lesson/Project: Citizen Archivists – 19th Amendment Centennial
Organization: U.S. Vote Foundation
Podcast: National Constitution Center’s “A Constitutional History of the Right to Vote”
Online Exhibit: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote

CHALLENGES TO VOTING RIGHTS 2020

Organization: Fair Fight 2020
Article: Teaching Voting Rights In The Time of Coronavirus
Article: We Make it Difficult to Vote
Article: More Than 1,000 US Polling Sites Closed
Article: Coronavirus Closures and Confusion in US Polls
Article: USPS May Not Be Able to Meet Election Mail Demands
Article: Despite virus threat, Black voters wary of voting by mail

YOUTH VOTING

Lessons/Campaign: Future Voters Project
Course Project: Power to the Polls Service Learning Project
Toolkit: Tech For Civic Engagement
Online Course: Democracy Class
Organization/Interactive Guide: HeadCount
Article: Why Young People Don’t Vote
Classroom Resources: Voting and Voices
Campaign: I Vote for Equality

ENGAGING IN DIFFICULT DISCUSSION (AROUND VOTING, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT)

Article/Toolkit: An Open Letter on the Need to Teach the Reconstruction Era
Interactive Guide: 11 Ways To Engage Students From Now To November