Tuesday, November 2nd was Election Day. This was what is called an “off year,” or an election where there is neither a presidential election nor midterm congressional elections. So, what officials are up for election in your state, and what role do they play in your government?
Have students read the first paragraph of Article 1, Section 4. Lead a short discussion about the meaning of this portion of the Constitution, and what role states play in our system of elections. Why does the Constitution give states this power in federal elections? Why do states have the power to create their own elections for state offices
Then split them into equal groups of 4-6 depending on class size. Each group should research and come up with answers for the following. Ballotpedia’s website is a good starting point. Students should share their responses once all research is finished.
- What offices were up for election in your state this year?
- What offices are up for election in your state next year?
- Select a bordering state. How do the elections over these two years compare to the elections in this state?
- Why do you think these differences exist?
- How might these different election cycles reflect differences in state governments?
- Why do you think the Constitution left the determination of elections and state governments up to the states?
2021 Elections in Your State and Beyond Answer Key
Answer key for the 2021 Elections in Your State and Beyond eLesson.
Elections have consequences. They decide who holds power and therefore the laws that we live under. But they also reflect principles of federalism and consent of the governed, as well as the complexity of the American system.
What is a Federal Republic?
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention embraced the difficult duty of crafting a government that appropriately distributed the power between the national government and the states. For the Founders, the principle of federalism was a means of protecting liberty by limiting and dividing government power. This lesson explores the principle of federalism, how it is constructed in the Constitution, and the relationship between national and state powers.
This lesson includes a variety of activities and primary source excerpts, providing students with a comprehensive study of federalism. Through the Constitution’s system of federalism, power is divided between national and subnational governments. Federalism allows citizens to make policy decisions at state and local levels. Decentralization draws individuals out of private life and compels civic engagement.