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The U.S. Electoral College and the Election Process


Is a chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent recounts in Florida.

Before watching the movie

In groups of two answer these questions:

  1. What is the Electoral College?
  2. Why do we have an Electoral College and why was it considered necessary?
  3. What is the official procedure for presidential elections? Illustrate an approximate timeline of key events in any given presidential election year.
  4. Is it possible for a president to win the popular vote but lose the election? How?
  5. Who were the candidates in the 2000 election and what happened?
  6. How was the Supreme court involved?

While watching answer these questions:

  1.  In every presidential election, the media will announce the new President and Vice President
    by the morning after election day; however, when is the President and Vice-President actually
  2. What does it mean to “concede?”
  3. Why did Al Gore retract his concession?
  4. Why would a machine recount of Florida’s ballots tally a slightly different number than the
    first time? How was this a threat to the Bush campaign?
  5. Why did the Democrats initiate a hand recount?
  6. What trend did the Democrats discover about old voting machines and the neighborhoods they
  7. What did the Democrats discover about voters being turned away from the polls?
  8.  Did the Republicans actively try to stop a hand recount? Why?
  9. What issues did officials encounter with the hand recount?
  10. Why did the Republicans want to count absentee ballots?
  11.  Are absentee ballots usually counted on Election Day?

Our Government and the U.S. Supreme Court Decision

  1. In which court did James Baker think the Republicans would definitely lose? Which
    court did he think they would be more likely to win in the long run?
  2. What did Baker mean when he suggested that “it’s time to exercise our first amendment
    right”? What is the first amendment?
  3. What were the advisory opinions?
  4. Who represented Gore during the trials? Why was this lawyer recruited?
  5. What is the Equal Protection Clause?
  6. Why did the Bush camp think they had a small victory when they learned the Supreme
    Court didn’t set counting standards?
  7. How do you feel about the fact that many counties did not run their ballots through the
    machines again?
  8. Do you think Democrats should have begun planning for lawsuits earlier?
  9. Do you think the Texas voting law signed by Governor Bush helped Gore’s case or was
    it irrelevant to Gore winning in the Florida Supreme Court?

SourceMr. Chazen’s Neighborhood

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