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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Electoral College Reform

  • Story Highlights
  • Review arguments for and against the Electoral College system
  • Examine some of the proposed modifications to the Electoral College
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different reform proposals
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will examine different proposals to reform the Electoral College and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these proposals.


Point out that proposals to reform the Electoral College system are not uncommon, especially after close U.S. presidential elections like the one in 2000. Refer students to the Electoral College One-Sheet and online resources, including those listed, to review arguments for and against the Electoral College system and to examine some of the proposed modifications to the Electoral College. Have students share their findings in a class discussion and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different reform proposals.

Following the discussion, instruct students to draw upon their research to write position papers on whether or not they think that the U.S. electoral system should be reformed, and if so, which reforms make the most sense. Have students share their papers with the class.

Correlated Standards


9-12 Content Standards

II. What are the Foundations of the American Political System?

A. What is the American idea of constitutional government?

B. What are the distinctive characteristics of American society?

C. What is American political culture?

D. What values and principles are basic to American constitutional democracy?

III. How Does the Government Established by the Constitution Embody the Purposes, Values, and Principles of American Democracy?

A. How are power and responsibility distributed, shared, and limited in the government established by the United States Constitution?

B. How is the national government organized and what does it do?

C. How are state and local governments organized and what do they do?

D. What is the place of law in the American constitutional system?

The National Standards for Civics and Government ( are published by the Center for Civic Education (

Social Studies

Standard X. Civic Ideals and Practices

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( are published by the National Council for Social Studies (


Electoral College, reform, civics, government

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