Heroes of the Ballot
There was a time when only landowners could vote. There was a time when only men could vote. There was a time when only white people could vote. There was a time when only people 21 and over could vote.
This month's newsletter focuses on one of the most important rights we, as Americans, have - the right to vote. Our history is stained with attempts to suppress the vote for one group or another, but our determination has held fast.
Voting is our right and we must guard, protect and use it. When we fail to show up at the ballot box, we fail the men and women who have died to keep us free and who have laid down their lives so we could cast our vote for our chosen candidate.
Voting Rights: A timeline
1700s: Voting generally limited to white property holders
1800s: Official barriers to voting start to recede
1920: Women win the vote
1960: Southern states ramp up barriers to voting
1964: The 24th amendment targets poll taxes
1965: The Voting Rights Act passes Congress
1971: Young people win the vote
1975: Voting Rights Act expanded to protect language minorities
1982: Congress requires new voting protections for people with disabilities
1993: “Motor Voter” becomes law
2000: Election problems spotlight need for reform
2002: Congress passes the Help America Vote Act
2010: Philanthropy embraces need for reform
June 2013: The Supreme Court strikes a blow to the Voting Right Act
August 2013: States ramp up barriers to voting
2014: The voting rights movement coalesces to fight suppression
2016: Presidential election and claims of fraud
October 2018: State, local officials keep erecting new barriers to voting
November 2018: Election draws record number of voters but problems remain
2019: Voting rights groups prepare for the 2020 Census and redistricting
How Does Voter Suppression Undermine Our Democracy?
Some of the most common ways voting rights are undermined across the country include implementation of laws and activities that make it harder for certain segments of the population to vote. Here are some of the most common ways voting rights are undermined across the country.
Taken from the Carnegie Corporation of New York's website
1. Voter ID requirements. Election officials use false claims of rampant voter fraud to justify strict requirements like a photo ID, often aimed at suppressing the votes of people of color and younger voters. Laws requiring a physical street address discriminate against groups that are more likely to have P.O. Box addresses, such as Native Americans living on reservations.
2. Lack of language access. The English-language requirements of the past may be gone, but voting rights groups regularly receive reports that local jurisdictions are not translating materials or offering language assistance as required by law, proving a persistent barrier to increased voting among language minorities in the Asian American and Latino communities.
3. Voter roll purges. Under the guise of reviewing voter rolls to remove duplicate names, the names of deceased individuals, or those with standing felony convictions, officials have undertaken indiscriminate “purges” of voter lists in recent years, deleting millions of eligible voters’ names, often with a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
4. Polling place closures/consolidations. A recent USA Today analysis found that election officials have closed thousands of polling places, largely affecting communities of color. For example, in Chicago’s Cook County, which has the largest non-Hispanic black population in the country, election administrators closed or moved 95 polling places.
5. Lack of funding for elections. A lack of funding inhibits the ability of localities to manage elections that ensure everyone’s vote counts equally. Some of these problems came to the fore during the 2000 presidential election in Florida, where the recount process shined a spotlight on issues ranging from flawed ballot designs to voting machines that overheated and failed.
6. Provisional ballot requirements. Federal law allows voters whose eligibility is in question to use a provisional ballot to be counted once the voter is confirmed eligible. However, localities set their own rules in how many provisional ballots to print and training poll workers on processing them, resulting in eligible voters being turned away or their ballots discounted.
7. Reduced early voting. States and localities have long used early voting to reduce Election Day crunch and open up the process to prospective voters bound by work or other commitments. Faith-based groups have also used early voting for nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts. Recently, officials across the nation have curtailed early voting, largely hitting communities of color.
8. Reduced voting hours. Like limiting early voting, reducing voting hours can make voting less convenient, and even impossible, for many voters. Low-income and working-class people often have less freedom to arrive late or leave early from work, or to take a break from their shifts in the middle of the day. Parents with inflexible childcare arrangements can be similarly impacted.
9. Poorly trained poll workers. Poll workers need good training to follow the right policies like properly checking IDs, giving language assistance, identifying voter intimidation, and offering provisional ballots. Yet a lack of funding, coupled with a lack of commitment to making voting welcoming and convenient, means poll workers are poorly equipped to do their jobs.
10. Partisan election administrators. Our country’s highly decentralized election system hands the responsibility for managing elections to state and local administrators, some of them partisan officials with a clear interest in election outcomes favorable to their parties and candidates. Too often, this results in efforts to suppress the votes of groups that might be viewed as opponents.
11. Creation of at-large local offices to dilute minority vote. An at-large election covers voters across a city or county, in contrast to smaller district elections, which can often result in higher representation for people of color since votes are not diluted by an area-wide population. As a result, some officials create at-large districts to limit the influence of minority communities.
Carnegie Corporation of New York, November 1, 2019
September Class Corner
We will be teaching children who have lived through and are still living through a global pandemic that has ravaged their emotional and physical health. Added to that many Iowans are struggling with the aftermath of a terrible storm. Our new updated and current Examining: Helping Traumatized Children Learn provides up to the minute information you need to meet the challenges of the 20-21 school year.
Examining: Helping Traumatized Children Learn
Updated for the 20-21 school year!
(3cr hrs) Starts September 16th...Ends November 13th
This a 3 credit hour course based on Helping Traumatized Children Learn – A Report and Policy Agenda from the Massachusetts Advocates for Children: Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. Helping Traumatized Children Learn is the result of an extraordinary collaboration among educators, parents, mental health professionals, community groups, and attorneys determined to help children experiencing the traumatic effects of exposure to family violence succeed in school.
Building on the horror of today's issues of poverty, abuse, homelessness, and food insecurity is our newest assailant: COVID-19.
This class is an up to the minute, timely look at trauma in the lives of the students we teach. At no other time in our country’s history have we been faced with such a flood of negative events that are attacking us, our families, our neighbors and our students. Now educators spend time worrying about, planning for, and assisting children and their families who are living through the trauma of COVID-19. With the consistent and enormous battle we are facing each day with this disease, new information is emerging that causes us greater and greater alarm.
Helping Traumatized Children Learn provides the educator with information on how to identify, treat and seek assistance for the traumatized child. The “usual” trauma will be addressed; trauma that is always with us resulting in tremendous need that places our students in hopeless and helpless situations such as poverty, abuse, neglect, immigration, war, medical problems, etc.
Added to these topics, the class will also provide information and resources on the issues that have plagued our traumatized children with the latest and newest information on COVID-19. This class offers educator hope that they can, with the right instruments, give their students the necessary tools they need not only to survive and maintain but, in some instances, come through trauma as healthy, happy people.
Required Text: Helping Traumatized Children Learn – A Report and Policy Agenda from the Massachusetts Advocates for Children: Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative may be download for free at
EXPRESS: A Spoonful of Sugar: Restorative Practices in the Classroom
(3cr hrs) Starts September 16th...Ends October 30th
Examining: Managing Noncompliance & Defiance in the Classroom
(3cr hrs) Starts September 16th...Ends November 13th
September Featured Class of the Month
Examining: How the Special Needs Brain Learns
(3cr hrs) Starts September 16th...Ends November 13th
Examining: How the Special Needs Brain Learns is a 3 credit hour, self-paced course based on the book How the Special Needs Brain Learns, 3rd edition by David A. Sousa. Participants will investigate the latest research into what’s going on inside the brains of students with attention disorders, speech/language disabilities, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, emotional-behavioral disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Then, building on this understanding, participant will learn specific strategies that address the functions of the special needs brain in order to help students be more successful.
All courses are accredited. Choose from:
6 week Iowa License Renewal Courses
8-9 week courses that can be taken for Iowa License Renewal or EDMA Graduate Credit
Visit our website to learn more and register for upcoming classes
Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for upcoming class information, education articles & news and creative classroom ideas & strategies!
Children's books to discuss voting rights and the important part they play in our democracy.
LILLIAN’S RIGHT TO VOTE: A CELEBRATION OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965
AUTHOR: Jonah Winter
ILLUSTRATOR: Shane W. Evans
AWARD(S): 2016, Honor Book for Younger Children
SUGGESTED AGES: Ages 4 to 6; Ages 6 to 8; Ages 9 to 12
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
by Mara Rockliff (Author), Hadley Hooper (Illustrator)
Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
by Deborah Diesen, Magdalena Mora (Illustrator)
Everything You Need to Know about The US Voting System - Government Books for Kids | Children's Government Books Paperback – December 1, 2017
by Baby Professor (Author)
What you need to know to vote in Iowa
Let your voice be heard!
WHAT YOU NEED
Precinct election officials are required to ask voters registered in the county to show one of the valid forms of identification:
Iowa Driver’s License (not expired more than 90 days)
Iowa Non-Operator ID (not expired more than 90 days)
U.S. Passport (not expired)
U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID (not expired)
Iowa Voter Identification Card (must be signed)
Tribal ID Card/Document (must be signed, with photo, not expired)
An Iowa Voter Identification Card is provided automatically by the county auditor to each voter who does not have either an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID. If you have a question about the Iowa Voter Identification Card, or if you need to request a replacement, contact your county auditor.
A voter without one of the above forms of ID may have the voter’s identity attested to by another registered voter in the precinct or may prove identity and residence using Election Day Registration documents.
Iowa Voter Ready
The Treasure Trove
Educator Resource of the Month
Don’t Forget to Vote!
10 Picture Books About Elections
by Devon A. Corneal
Devon Corneal is a self described writer, recovering lawyer, and bibliophile. She writes Brightly; a website for raising kids who love to read.
Voting advocate fights for right to vote
More than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most extensive pieces of civil rights legislation, people of color across the United States still are engaged in a battle to protect their right to vote. This short documentary directed by Dawn Porter profiles one dynamic woman working tirelessly on the ground and in the courts to ensure that they are not denied this right.
The film follows attorney Donita Judge, an advocate for voting rights, on Election Day 2016, as she troubleshoots claims of voting irregularities in Columbus, Ohio. In recent years, no president has ever won national office without winning Ohio, making it a crucial swing state. As Judge crisscrosses the city to support poll workers and citizens, we see how new voting restrictions such as ID laws affect the ability of people on the ground to vote.
The film was funded by a grant from Glassbreaker Films and the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation
The Power of the Youth Vote
Mindy Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis. Romero says voting is about power. The problem? Young people vote in very low numbers in the US. Not because they are apathetic or they don't care...they care very much. It is because, Romero states, our civic and electoral structures are designed in a way that discourages young people from voting.
Youth Vote Film
How to increase voter turnout in 15 minutes
Brown says the 2018 election saw only half of eligible voters participate even though it was the highest turnout we have had in 50 years. Brown works on a project called #votetogether. She has some very interesting ideas on how to secure more voter turn out for all elections.
Increase Voter Film
21st Century Voting
says that voting is one of our fundamental rights; it is how we shape our communities. Epps-Johnson is the founder and executive direction at the Center for Technology and Civic Life, She leads a team that provides resources and training to support local election officials in modernizing the ways they communicate with voters and administer elections.
What's needed to bring the US voting system into the 21st century
21st Century Film
What Teachers Can Learn from Iowa's Efforts to Engage Teen Caucus goers
By Evie Blad on January 29, 2020
Blog Post from Education Week