Vermont Votes for Kids: A project of the Vermont Secretary of State

Curriculum Grades 9-12, Student Handout for Lesson 2:
Who's Watching the Ballot Box?

 

Citizens need to know when they go to the bank to deposit hard-earned funds that their investment is safe. Similarly they need to feel confident when they go to their polling place or send their ballot through the mail, that their hard-won right of suffrage is secure. Their investment in democracy needs to be safe and reliable from the registration process, the counting of ballots, and the contents on the ballot, to the certification of the final results.

Elections Division of the Vermont's Secretary of State plays a vital and ongoing role in safeguarding and enhancing the quality and reliability of the entire election process. This elected office not only serves as the "watchdog" (guardian) of the procedures and results of elections but also strives continually to make voter registration and voting ever more accessible, reliable and efficient. However, each person also plays a vital role and has the responsibility to help protect the integrity of the electoral process by guarding against fraud during voter registration.

ACTIVITY:

You will be asked to get on the Internet and visit the following sites where you will find some of the safeguards in place for parts of the election process.

ONE: THE FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS IN VERMONT

First, go to http://www.sec.state.vt.us/
Click on "Elections," then on "Campaign Finance."

Now, investigate the following:

  1. Find and list at least three ways Vermont attempts to keep the candidates and campaigns accountable to the public and the election process safe from undesirable influence.
  2. What is the role of the Secretary of State's off ice in the effort to maintain voters' confidence in the election system?
  3. What is the email address for questions about the the Vermont Campaign Finance Law?
TWO: INFORMING VOTERS

Navigate to http://www.sec.state.vt.us/
Click on "Voters."

From what you see, answer the following question. What information is available to help Vermonters exercise their right to vote?

THREE: THE 2006 Election

Background:

The 2006 elections are approaching. State, local, and national offices will be filled by the votes of the people. How does this system work?

Exploration:

Go to http://www.sec.state.vt.us/. Click on "Primary and General Election Info."

Browse the articles and documents with the goal of finding the answers to these questions:

  1. When do candidates have to file petitions for the 2006 election?
  2. When is the first campaign finance report due?.
  3. Who determines what constitutes a vote in Vermont, when it is not clear? How do they do this?.
  4. Do Political Action Committees exist in Vermont? If so, find the name of one and explain what it does

 


Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz: http://www.vermontvotesforkids.com