FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection

Expand/Collapse FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection


Just in time for the 2016 general election, explore some of the complex issues, court rulings, and personalities that are shaping U.S. democracy, in this collection of resources from FRONTLINE. The collection’s videos, interactives, and articles examine the many facets of voting laws, including controversial voter ID laws. While more than a dozen states passed laws restricting voter access to the polls in recent years, federal courts struck down a number of these prior to Election Day 2016, citing their discriminatory nature. Two resources also shine a spotlight on pivotal events that drove Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to seek the highest office in the land: President of the United States.

 

 

  • FRONTLINE | Court Finds North Carolina Voter ID Law Targeted Black Voters

    Learn about a federal appeals court panel’s decision to overturn what’s considered the broadest piece of restrictive voting legislation passed in recent years, in this 2016 article from FRONTLINE. North Carolina’s voter ID Law included restrictions that required a state-issued photo ID, cut early voting days, and banned same-day voter registration, among other restrictions. The court found the law not only had a discriminatory effect but targeted African Americans with almost “surgical precision.”
    This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • FRONTLINE | North Dakota’s Voter ID Law Is Latest to Be Overturned

    Find out more about a U.S. district judge’s decision to strike down the North Dakota voter ID law because it created an undue burden for Native Americans, in this 2016 article from FRONTLINE. This was the fifth piece of restrictive voting legislation to be overturned in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. From 2011-2016, more than a dozen states passed laws that imposed barriers to the ballot. However, in the summer of 2016, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, and North Dakota were forced by federal judges and appeals courts to abandon policies restricting access to the ballot box amidst charges that they led to voter disenfranchisement and, in some cases, discrimination against people of color.
    This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Choice 2016: Beware of Washington

    Learn how the Washington, D.C., establishment’s response to the political role that Hillary Clinton had adopted as First Lady shaped her public image in this digital short from FRONTLINE’s “Choice” Moments. Although Bill Clinton had won the 1992 presidential election, Hillary Clinton would also play a powerful role in her husband’s administration. In leading the president’s healthcare task force, Mrs. Clinton appeared to refuse the advice given from some prominent members of society. Her critics attacked her, openly questioning Mrs. Clinton’s secretive policy efforts and making highly personal allegations against her and the president.
    This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Choice 2016: Rebranding Trump

    Examine the pivotal role that a reality television show played in reshaping Donald Trump’s image, from that of a failed businessman to a presidential candidate, in this digital short from FRONTLINE’s “Choice” Moments. Donald Trump’s reputation had been tarnished by the collapse of his business empire in the early 1990s. Yet, his 14-season run on The Apprentice ultimately gave him the opportunity to make over his image and court the American public directly as a plainspoken decision maker, as his TV persona had. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • FRONTLINE | Could the 2016 Election Settle the Voter ID Debate?

    Learn about the controversy surrounding recent voting laws and their potential impact as voters in several states prepare to cast 2016 presidential election ballots under stricter laws for the first time, in this 2016 article from FRONTLINE. According to this article, over the past five years, more than 18 states have passed laws that might restrict voters’ access to the ballot. The 2016 election may present the best test yet of the laws’ impact. Voters in 10 states will have to comply with tighter ID requirements at the polls than they faced in 2012. As a result, voting rights advocates predict that African American and Latinos will be deterred disproportionally from voting. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Teaching Tips  |  Vocabulary and Terms  |  Voting Laws Update Article

    Grades: 9-12
  • FRONTLINE | Why Voter ID Laws Aren’t Really about Fraud

    Learn about findings that suggest that requirements of voter ID laws aren’t applied equally to all voters, in this 2014 article from FRONTLINE: Ballot Watch. According to the article, experts conclude that evidence of fraud is more likely to be found in mail-in absentee ballots than at the polls. Additionally, ID laws do not prevent the most common forms of fraud: double voting and felons voting. The article also points out that the strictest voter ID laws limit the forms of acceptable documentation and that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to lack one of these qualifying IDs.  This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Download teacher support materials for this resource:  

    Teaching Tips  |  Student Handout  |  Early Voting Article  | Voter ID Article   

    Grades: 9-12
  • FRONTLINE: What’s the Deal with Voters’ Rights?

    Learn about voter rights, including why voter identification (voter ID) laws disproportionately impact minority voters, in this media gallery from FRONTLINE: Ballot Watch. According to the videos, there are several reasons why not all U.S. adults have an acceptable form of identification for voting. For example, Social Security cards lack a photograph and current address; passports are expensive and less than half the population has one. Voter ID laws are described as partisan, ineffective, and discriminatory—partisan, because they are supported by Republicans and criticized by Democrats; ineffective, because they ignore more prevalent means of voter fraud; and discriminatory, because the people being turned away at the polls for not having the proper identification tend to be minorities. Lastly, the videos describe protections under the Voting Right Act and explain the effects of the Supreme Court case ruling in Shelby v. Holder.  This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • FRONTLINE: How Voting Laws Have Changed

    Examine data about the voting rights laws that most impact Americans' access to the ballot box and how they’ve changed across the country in recent years, in this interactive from FRONTLINE: Ballot Watch. Voting laws influence who can vote and when and how they cast their ballots. This interactive provides a state-by-state analysis of voting laws as they pertain to early voting, felons, absentee voting, and voter ID requirements. It compares the situation in 2010, when many states began introducing more restrictive voter bills, to that in 2014. An update with data and analysis from 2015 is coming soon. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

    Grades: 9-12

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