A crash course on voting and the US political system

The Electoral College, gerrymandering — and more! These talks answer your questions and simplify the confusing landscape of the US political system. (For more voting information specific to your location, please visit

  1. 5:05
    Christina Greer Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained

    You vote but then what? Discover how your individual vote contributes to the popular vote and your state's electoral vote in different ways—and see how votes are counted on both state and national levels. [Lesson by Christina Greer, directed by Mark Phillips, narrated by Christina Greer].

  2. 4:10
    Peter Paccone How do US Supreme Court justices get appointed?

    There's a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job-security. And there's only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. But how do US Supreme Court Justices actually get that honor? Peter Paccone outlines the difficult process of getting a seat on the highest bench in the country. [Directed by Hernando Bahamon, narrated by Addison Anderson, music by Manuel Borda].

  3. 13:33
    Eric Liu There's no such thing as not voting

    Many people like to talk about how important voting is, how it's your civic duty and responsibility as an adult. Eric Liu agrees with all that, but he also thinks it's time to bring joy back to the ballot box. The former political speechwriter details how he and his team are fostering the culture around voting in the 2016 US presidential election — and closes with a powerful analysis of why anyone eligible should show up on Election Day.

  4. 3:21
    Jacob Soboroff Why do Americans vote on Tuesdays?

    Since 1845, Americans have been voting on Tuesdays — but why? In this humorous talk, Jacob Soboroff shares the history of Election Day and shows how voting on a Tuesday affects voter turnout. [Directed by TED-Ed].

  5. 3:41
    Christina Greer Gerrymandering: How drawing jagged lines can impact an election

    District lines, and the groups of voters within them, may seem arbitrary, but a lot of thought (and political bickering) is put into these carefully drawn lines. From "packing" a district to "cracking" a district—learn how the shape of districts impacts political parties during election season. [Directed by Smart Bubble Society, narrated by Christina Greer].

  6. 7:04
    Mark Forsyth What's a snollygoster? A short lesson in political speak

    Most politicians choose their words carefully, to shape the reality they hope to create. But does it work? Etymologist Mark Forsyth shares a few entertaining word-origin stories from British and American history (for instance, did you ever wonder how George Washington became "president"?) and draws a surprising conclusion.

  7. 3:35
    Belinda Stutzman How is power divided in the United States government?

    Articles I-III of the United States Constitution allow for three separate branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial), along with a system of checks and balances should any branch get too powerful. Belinda Stutzman breaks down each branch and its constitutionally-entitled powers. [Directed by Johnny Chew, narrated by Belinda Stutzman].

  8. 7:01
    Eric Liu How to understand power

    Every day, we move and operate within systems of power that other people have constructed. But we're often uncomfortable talking about power. Why? Eric Liu describes the six sources of power and explains how understanding them is key to being an effective citizen.

  9. 11:29
    Tiana Epps-Johnson What's needed to bring the US voting system into the 21st century

    The American election system is complicated, to say the least — but voting is one of the most tangible ways that each of us can shape our communities. How can we make the system more modern, inclusive and secure? Civic engagement champion Tiana Epps-Johnson shares what's needed to bring voting in the US into the 21st century — and to get every person to the polls.