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Electoral College Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

The electoral college can be difficult for students of all levels to fully understand. These discussion questions can help your students grasp the concepts and explain their thinking in order to solidify their learning.

Electoral College Discussion Questions

The electoral college is not only a hallmark of American elections; it is also a topic of debate among its citizens. These discussion questions will help your students explain their knowledge of the basics of the electoral college, as well as delve into the controversy and express their own informed opinions.

Questions for Elementary School

  • The electoral college means that each state is given a certain number of votes in presidential elections. How is the number of votes determined? Do you think each state is given its fair share of votes based on this system? Why or why not?
  • In some races, the popular vote and the electoral vote can be different. For example, the number of individuals who voted for candidate A can be more than for candidate B. However, because of the electoral votes, candidate B could still win the election. Do you think that the elections should be decided differently in these cases? Why or why not?
  • Why did government leaders decide to write the 12th amendment, modifying the electoral college system? What problem were they trying to solve?
  • Do you think the electoral college is the best way to decide presidential elections? If so, why? If not, why not?

Questions for Middle School

  • A few times in American history the president did not win the popular vote but did win the electoral vote, and was therefore elected. Some recent examples include George W. Bush v. Al Gore in 2000 and Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton in 2016. Do you think these choices for president accurately represented the will of the people? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • When the Constitution was created, the electoral college system was intended to solve the problem of whether Congress or the American people should elect the president. Do you think that this system was an effective way to solve the problem?
  • What objections do people have to the electoral college system? Do you agree or disagree with these opinions?
  • If it was decided that the electoral college should end, what system would you want to replace it? Share an idea you have for how presidential voting should happen in the United States.

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