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Teaching young voters about elections, voting process

Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 18:39:31-05

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's safe to say the 2020 election stood out in Kentucky, from the key presidential and U.S. Senate races to major issues like COVID-19 and racial injustice. It's a lot to take in, especially for younger voters who are also getting used to the voting process in general. That's one of many things Dr. Anne Cizmar, an associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University, teaches her students in classes like this semester's "Race to White House."

“Some of those very basic voting materials, some basic background on how you would actually go about basting your ballot. What to expect on the ballot,” said Dr. Cizmar. “Not just looking at the presidential election... Reminding them that, yes, there are going to be multiple levels to vote on and that in some ways are more critical for their day-to-day lives. Thinking about Kentucky politics and what goes on in the legislature.”

There’s also a chance for a history lesson for those anxious about waiting for results in such a close election, and teaching that this has happened before, like in the 2000 election.

“Talking about the fact that we've seen legal challenges before related to the election,” she said. “That, we will get to the end of this process, but that we have a precedent set, not that long ago really, for how we go through the process of ballot counting and settling disputes related to the ballots.”

With Election Day now behind us, Dr. Cizmar says it's also important to look to the future, because the conversation doesn't end when a winner is declared.

“When the campaign ends, the real work of governing or attempting to govern through COVID-19, through the other challenges facing the United States and the world begins,” she said. “I think we'll also pivot to talking about, where do we go from here as the dust settles? What are the next steps for the government? What is it that we can expect to happen in the next two or four years going forward?”

Dr. Cizmar said she also talks to her students about managing tense relationships over political differences and knowing where to find fact-checked information about issues.