I’ve heard about some folks who are planning to give extra credit to their students for providing evidence that they voted.
Please don’t do this.
I have just a few reasons.
- It’s illegal to give students credit for voting, when there is a federal candidate on the ballot. In this election in the US, a seat in Congress is on the ballot, so it’s a federal election. (Except Washington, DC, I suppose. Perhaps it’s legal if all of your students are registered to vote in DC?)
- Some of your students may not be able to vote, because they might not be citizens. Please consider that it’s unfair to your non-citizen students to have to come up to you and describe their citizenship status just to get academic credit from you. (They could be permanent residents, they could be in the US on a visa, they might not undocumented. I’ve had at least one parolee that I’ve taught, and in my state, they can’t vote.)
Voting is a civic duty, and treating it like it’s something extra isn’t exactly a solid civics lesson.
And I’m all out of reasons. But I think those four are good enough, eh?
There are so many good ways to motivate your students to learn about what’s on the ballot. And so many ways to discuss the election as a part of class. I’m often dismayed at low voting rates in my college students. We can do many things to help change that, but giving extra credit isn’t a right way to do it.
Here’s today’s post in tweet form, by the way:
If you’re eligible, please don’t forget to vote.