The National Week of Conversation (June 14-20, 2021) marked the official national launch of the Elections: How Should We Encourage and Safeguard Voting? issue discussion guide.
The National Issues Forums Institute's (NIFI) participation in the National Week of Conversation included a June 17, 2021 webinar about convening and moderating forums using the new Elections issue discussion guide, and five online forums that used a variety of online platforms to help participants deliberate about Elections.
Webinar presenters Betty Knighton, Brad Rourke, and Patty Dineen introduced participants to the issue guide framework and supporting materials available to use to enrich deliberative forums in person and online. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here. You can also download a PDF version of the PowerPoint slides that were used during the webinar by clicking here.
Moderators for the online forums during the National Week of Conversation included: Cristin Brawner, the David Mathews Center for Civic Life; Margaret Holt, retired, University of Georgia; Leslie Gavin, North Carolina Campus Compact; Betty Knighton, National Issues Forums Institute; Kara Lindaman, Winona State University; and Justin Lutz, the David Mathews Center for Civic Life.
About the issue discussion guide - Elections: How Should We Encourage and Safeguard Voting?
This issue advisory presents three options for moving forward, each reflecting a different view of the problem and each suggesting a different set of ideas about what should be done. Most people will find something to agree with in all three approaches, but each also has trade-offs, risks, or drawbacks that need to be taken into account and worked through.
In thinking about different approaches, we will consider these questions:
- Would having uniform national standards for voting, instead of having state and local officials continue to set the rules, give us more confidence?
- Do ID requirements for voting, in order to help maintain the system’s integrity, merely discourage voters by placing hurdles in their way?
- Would Americans see the voting system as more legitimate if the Electoral College were eliminated in favor of a national popular vote?
- Could some of the changes proposed here have unintended consequences? Could they fix some problems but cause new ones we haven’t anticipated?
These are not the only possible options, nor the only questions. They are starting points for weighing alternatives and reaching a sound judgment.
Click here to download the issue guide and companion material (also available are a starter video, a moderator's guide, and PowerPoint slides).