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Podcast Classroom Guide: Ranked-choice voting and trust in elected officials

In this podcast episode hosts Anna Brown and Mike Dunbar explain the concept of ranked-choice voting and discuss whether it might lead to more trust in government officials.


Podcast includes 12 minutes on the topic of ranked-choice voting, 5 additional minutes of "fun facts" about the history of New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

Key concepts/standards

  • Trust and legitimacy in representative forms of government
    • SS:WH:8:1.1: Explore how leaders have attempted to achieve political legitimacy using methods and rationales, e.g., the Divine Right of Kings, military power, or popular elections. (Themes: E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority)
    • SS:CV:8:1.2: Analyze the major arguments for and against representative government as distinguished from direct democracy, and discuss how, in a representative democracy, minority rights are protected. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority)
  • The impact of a small number of votes in elected governments
    • SS:CV:8:4.1: Describe and analyze ways Americans can effectively participate in civic and political life at the local, state, and federal levels, e.g., problem solving, public engagement, or voting. (Themes: A: Conflict and Cooperation, B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, J: Human Expression and Communication)
    • SS:CV:12:4.1: Demonstrate responsible practices within the political process, e.g., registering to vote or taking civic action. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement)

Discussion questions

  • What is ranked-choice voting? How does it differ from traditional voting?
  • Why might New Hampshire choose to enact ranked-choice voting?
  • What kinds of candidates would benefit from a switch to ranked choice voting?
  • What are some potential unintended consequences of switching to ranked choice voting?
  • How might switching to ranked choice voting give Granite Staters more trust in their government officials?
  • Do you support ranked-choice voting in New Hampshire? Why or why not?
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