The issue question for this year’s student mock election asks whether the Electoral College should be replaced by a popular vote for president. We are aware that this is not a presidential election year, and that the midterm congressional elections are extremely important, however given the political crisis that emerged from the 2020 presidential election we thought it was an issue fundamental to the future of our democracy. It raises an important constitutional question that can facilitate discussions in civics classes. Participation in the issue question is optional, but we hope teachers and students will carefully consider it in addition to assessing the merits of the candidates for Congress.
Issue questions are included in the mock election to familiarize students with the idea that as adults they will vote on public questions as well as candidates. We will continue to offer the links to the issues from recent elections for teachers who may be looking for sample issue questions for the current class of students. The information regarding ranked-preference voting in primaries is included to facilitate class discussions on possible means to address the current partisan environment. Since voting during a pandemic is now an issue of historical significance, we have included information regarding voting procedures in New Jersey so that students can participate in the actual election by encouraging parents and other adults to cast their vote in a safe manner of their choosing. It is also hoped that high school students eligible to vote will embrace this important civic responsibility.
Electoral College ReformBelow are suggested resources to facilitate discussion of the issue question. Since the 2024 presidential election remains in the future, some of the resources refer to the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
- Should the Electoral College Be Abolished? – NJ Center for Civic Education
- Should the Electoral College stay or go? – PBS NewsHour Classroom
- The Electoral College | National Archives
- National Elections and the Electoral College | The National Constitution Center
- Popular v. President | Electoral College and Popular Vote Lesson Plan | iCivics
- Debating the Electoral College – KQED Learning
- How does the Electoral College Work? | C-SPAN Classroom(Video)
- C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations – Should the Electoral College Be Reformed?
The game has competing student teams allocate limited campaign funds in states of their choosing, hoping to win more electoral college votes. Pre-formatted spreadsheets with built-in calculators should make the game easy to run.
This folder has all the materials and this video explains the game.
How to Vote in New Jersey