Listen to the Recess! Clip
Getting out the Vote Transcript
These are important days, the final countdown to the first presidential election of the new millennium! Because I know that your New Millennium’s Resolution is to remember to participate fully in the democratic process, and because your children learn to be good citizens by watching you, here are some cool Internet sites where you can research the candidates and help your kids learn about the process of electing our nation’s leader.
For grade school aged children, begin at BrainPop, where you’ll find an information-packed animated clip that sums up the presidential election process. After you’ve watched the video, take the quiz to make sure you got all the facts straight.
Next, check out the Time for Kid’s site: “The Election Connection.” This site is jam-packed with information. Here you can read current news articles about the race, or play one of the online games. In “Be the Nominee,” you’ll have to answer presidential trivia questions as you qualify to become a candidate. Or test your skills in the “Electoral College Craze.” In order to win a state’s electoral votes, you’ll have to answer a special question about that state’s history or economy.
Under “You’ve Got Issues” you can take a look at how the individual candidates feel about difficult campaign issues such as education, health care, taxes, and the environment. Or if you’re feeling really silly, try the speech making programs. You supply the words, much like a mad-lib, and watch as they are transformed into your very own victory speech.
Finally, for weightier coverage of election issues, make a visit to Project Vote Smart. This is definitely a site for older students and adults, as the content covered includes all the tough, controversial issue. The project is supported by the Ford, Carnegie, and Pew Foundations as well as hundreds of news organizations, and their board boasts a diverse membership from Goldwater to Carter, from Gingrich to Ferraro.
Project Vote Smart is an ambitious one, boasting a library of factual information on over 13,000 elected officials including state legislators and governors as well as national candidates for president and the congress. Candidates are given a National Political Awareness Test that attempts to pin down the policies a candidate is likely to support should they be elected to office.
Not all candidates agree to take the test, but that’s OK. If they don’t turn in their answers, the staff at Project Vote Smart culls through hundreds of speeches, literature, and prior voting records to compile an accurate view of where the candidate stands. Having trouble deciding between two candidates? The site even lets you see a side-by-side comparison.