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Confused by the Electoral College? A Middleburg High teacher breaks it down

Sarah Baker has taught social studies and geography at Middleburg High for 15 years.
Sarah Baker has taught social studies and geography at Middleburg High for 15 years.

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Sarah Baker has taught social studies and geography at Middleburg High for 15 years.

She says teaching the voting process to her 9th and 12th-grade students has come with some challenges.

“It’s so divided. My upper-level classes are leaning one way and my lower level another way,” said Baker.

As a public high school teacher, Baker is not allowed to have an opinion and to teach the subject she’s asked her students to do the same.

“I said we’re taking out our opinions. Right now, as a geographer, we cannot have an opinion. We are looking at the information based on the map data that we present.”

Baker says she teaches the Electoral College using geography instead of using maps like most of us are accustomed to seeing.

Baker uses a map with hexagons each one the size of each state representative of its population.

Every hexagon piece represents a state’s electoral vote.

“In the New England area we’re used to these tiny little states but they actually look large because it’s based upon population,” explains Baker. “So this kind of gives them an idea that the size of state doesn’t matter because this is a mismatch looking United States.”

Whoever wins each state gets the electoral votes, whichever candidate gets 270 electoral votes, wins.

However, with this presidential election, we know that’s easier said than done.

“That was a huge thing that we were talking about. I broke it down into three things. Number one: this is the most people that have ever voted ever in our nation’s history. Number two: we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and number 3: mail-in ballots are huge this year,” explained Baker.

Then take into consideration every state has its own laws of when they can start counting ballots.

“Some could count early when the ballots came in, but others had to wait until actual Election Day,” said Baker. “We have to have trust in the system. We have done this for years and years and years and voter fraud has been very minimal. We’re talking like 20 votes, not millions of votes, not anything that would skew the election."

Another topic brought up by Baker’s students was the potential of stopping the count.

“If we stopped counting all the people who mailed in their ballots on time, and I know it’s taking time to count them, those votes would not count and we’re not allowed in our country to disenfranchise voters, that’s considered voter intimidation,” she said.

About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.