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Do you think that just because you aren’t old enough to vote, this election won’t affect you? You couldn’t be more wrong! Decisions made by our elected officials today can have a tremendous impact on your future. Do you worry about how you are going to pay for college, or wonder if there will be a job for you when you graduate from high school? Do you feel safe at school, at home or while traveling? Are you concerned about the environment, individual rights or gun control? If you plan on voting, you need to be aware of how the candidates feel about these issues. You also need to be aware of how the proposed constitutional amendments will effect your future. If you are too young to vote in this election, you still can influence your family and friends of voting age by sharing the facts about each candidate’s views, and by letting your voice be heard on topics that concern you. NIE wants to know what you think. Share your views about the candidates and the issues on the NIE Blogging Zone.
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A fallacy is an error in argument. There are many types of fallacies and oftentimes the different types overlap. You can find a comprehensive list of fallacies at www1.ca.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/. Look for articles, cartoons and advertisements in your local newspaper that focus on the elections. Find examples of at least two different types of fallacies in these items. Write a fully developed paragraph analyzing the fallacies you find. How does understanding the techniques used help people become better voters? Share your paragraph and thoughts on the NIE Blogging Zone.
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Follow an issue that is being reported about in your local newspaper, on television and online. Compare and contrast the coverage of these news sources. Which medium provides the most in-depth, accurate information? Do the media report on the same issues or events differently? Do they focus on different slices of an issue or event? What are the differences between the electronic edition articles and the articles on the newspaper’s website? Share your thoughts with other students on the NIE Blogging Zone.
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Editorial cartoonists use a variety of tools to make a point. They use symbols, caricatures, stereotypes and analogies. Look in your local newspaper for editorial cartoons about the constitutional amendments or the candidates. With your classmates, decide which of these tools are being used in the various cartoons. What prior knowledge did you need in order to understand the cartoon? With a classmate, create your own editorial cartoon about one of the amendments showing that you agree or disagree with adding this change to the Florida Constitution.

Organizations and the media often endorse a candidate to voters who reflects the view of the editorial board or ownership of the organization, which implies more connection or support than a recommendation. Proposed amendments also can be endorsed by the media or organizations. Look for recommendations in your local newspaper and in other media. Write about the impact these recommendations may have on voters’ opinions. After you have done your research and clarified your thoughts, write a persuasive essay regarding one of the amendments. In the essay, discuss whether or not the recommendations support or refute your point of view.
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Check out these links to learn about the three amendments removed from the ballot:
Amendment 3: http://www.collinscenter.org/page/1eFLAmAmend3_MS
Amendment 7: http://www.collinscenter.org/page/1hFLAmAmend7_MS
Amendment 9: http://www.collinscenter.org/page/1jFLAmAmend9_MS
Share your thoughts about these amendments on the NIE Blogging Zone.

On the following pages of this Newspaper in Education publication, you will learn more about the proposed constitutional amendments. You can learn more by exploring the videos and information on the Collins Center for Public Policy website. Go to FlAmendments.org. Here, you can learn about the amendment proposals and find explanations of the proposals along with arguments for and against them. Also included are links to the proponents and opponents of the constitutional changes, so you can consider contacting them for information on how to join their campaigns.

Clearly, the initiative process has become an effective way for citizens and organizations to have a direct say about how their government operates. But does the process lead to good government, particularly when citizens believe the Legislature isn’t paying attention to what they want? Or, do initiatives produce a hodgepodge of new policies that can be convoluted, contradictory and even devastating to the state’s economy? What do you think? Share your views on the NIE Blogging Zone.