Political Science

how political power is held and maintained has never been more crucial.

With rampant misinformation and confusion in the public regarding the state of US electoral democracy, and after the historically dysfunctional aftermath of the 2020 election cycle, an accurate understanding of the issues and challenges involved in how political power is held and maintained has never been more crucial. Our single extra credit opportunity for the semester will be this response & review of a short (approximately 25 minute) episode from a documentary series called Whose Vote Counts, Explained. This assignment is EXTRA credit and is not a substitute for the weekly discussion activities which measure participation. It is worth up to seven points (see rubric below).
This three-episode series was released just prior to the 2020 election. Since its release, we have seen absurd claims about the 2020 elections (which led to the January 6 attempted insurrection at the US Capitol) become widespread, a series of state laws being drafted (under the guise of stopping “voter fraud”) to reduce and suppress We The People’s ability to cast a vote, and a robust debate about the direction “our democracy” is going.
From Vox (Links to an external site.): “Americans vote at much lower rates than most other developed countries (Links to an external site.), and one of the most common reasons given is that people don’t think their vote matters (Links to an external site.). Voting does matter, enormously — but it makes sense that so many Americans feel that way. All kinds of systems unique to the United States keep voters from the polls, tip elections in favor of moneyed interests, and give some votes a lot more power than others.”
We will be examining the three-part Netflix special Whose Vote Counts, Explained to watch and write a short response/review about one of its three episodes (see the trailer below for an overview).
Choose one of the three following episodes of Whose Vote Counts, Explained to watch and write about (actually, you should watch all three, but you only need to write about one of the following).
Episode 1 – “The Right to Vote”
Episode 2 – “Can You Buy An Election?”
Episode 3 – “Whose Vote Counts?”
Additional Details:
Each episode is the same length and so are the number of questions to answer within each option. Whichever episode you choose to write about, the assignment has two parts: First, complete a response sheet of ten short answer questions based on the film. For this first portion (the ten short questions) please copy the questions into the text box along with your replies. The second part is a slightly longer (but short) essay reviewing the film and its relevant content based on a set of guiding questions (200 minimum word count). You are free to add to the provided questions with additional material you think is important, so long as you address three of the guiding questions at a minimum.
NOTE: These episodes are streaming on Netflix, which almost everyone has access to. IF, for some reason you do not have access to Netflix for a 25-minute film, contact me for an alternative (similar but longer) film.