During the National Week of Conversation in June, National Issues Forums (NIF) launched its national initiative on encouraging and safeguarding voting with opportunities for people from across the country to participate in online National Issues Forums on the issue. NIF practitioners moderated the forums and provided opportunities for participants to delve more deeply into the issue in multiple breakout discussions.
Kara Lindaman, a moderator from Winona, Minnesota, reflected on the experience: "The mix of viewpoints in the discussion I moderated was incredible. It would be impossible to simulate this experience of having people of different ages and races from multiple states and regions in the same Zoom room. There was a young man who argued that the election was stolen and a woman from the League of Women Voters with evidence to the contrary. But they really wanted to learn from each other and to understand each other's views. I wish every young person I teach could have the chance to be in a room like that."
National Initiative on Voting
Elections: How Should We Encourage and Safeguard Voting?
About the issue discussion guide materials
The issue discussion guide and related support materials are designed to help Americans deliberate together about what should be done to encourage and safeguard voting. The guide offers three different ways of considering the issue. Each suggests actions we might take, along with trade-offs we would have to accept. Altogether, these options allow participants to explore important values and tensions shared by many. Information in this discussion guide raises crucial questions for which there are no easy answers.
- Would having uniform national standards for voting, instead of having state and local officials continue to set the rules, give us more confindence?
- 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?
These are not the only possible options, nor the only questions. They are starting points for weighing alternatives and reaching a sound judgment.
As part of the initiative, we are able to provide a range of complimentary resources to those who wish to convene discussions on this issue.
- Nonpartisan, multi-perspective discussion guide
- Discussion starter video
- Moderator’s guide
- PowerPoint slides with elements of the discussion guide for use with online platforms like Zoom
- Constitutional Connector
- Online questionnaire
Click here to explore the discussion guide and supporting resources.
Tips on Convening and Moderating Forums on Elections
To encourage deliberation around the country, NIF hosted a webinar about organizing and leading an impactful discussion on voting in communities, on campuses, and in classrooms.
Watch a webinar to learn about—
- The nonpartisan, public framework for in-person and online deliberative discussions
- Outreach for convening broad participation and building a planning team
- Your role as a moderator and sample discussion guidelines to share with participants
- What it means to be a neutral moderator and questions to promote deliberation
- Localizing the issue discussion materials