The First Census: Challenges of Collecting Population Data
As you and your fellow founders write the Imaginarian constitution, you must also design systems to collect accurate information about the population of Imaginaria. Why is this important and what are the challenges you will face? Let’s find out! Research and answer each question. (Questions adapted from “Authorizing the First Census–The Significance of Population Data,” Census.gov, United States Census Bureau)
- The First Congress laid out a plan for collecting this data in Chapter II, An Act Providing for the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States, which was approved March 1, 1790. What group did Congress select to carry out the first enumeration? Why did they choose this group? What might be the advantages and disadvantages to this approach?
- Choose at least two challenges faced by the U.S. government during the first enumeration and explain how the information gathered might have helped address them.
- President James Madison was a U.S. Representative who participated in the census debate in the first congress. What were the main points of his remarks and how were they relevant to the overall debate about the first enumeration?
- What issues do you think the U.S. Census Bureau encounters today as it continues to collect and process data about the U.S. population that might be significant to you and the other founders of Imaginaria?
The Party System: How Many Political Parties Are Enough?
The electoral system of Imaginaria will likely involve multiple political parties. The way these parties interact with the system may be determined by the founders of the new democracy. Let’s explore the ways in which political parties interact with the governments of various democracies by researching and answering each of the following questions.
- What concerns did the founders of the United States have about political parties? Have any of their concerns become a reality? Were political parties addressed in the U.S. Constitution? How did they become such a large part of politics in the U.S.? As a founder of Imaginaria, would you address political parties in your constitution?
- What is frontloading? Does our current system of frontloading impact fair representation? Why do two small, racially homogeneous states hold their primaries first? Do you think this impacts the final results?
- How does the interaction political parties and the electoral system in the United States differ from that of other countries? Give at least three specific examples. Of these three, which would you be most likely to use as a model for Imaginaria?
Technology and Voting: How Has the Digital Age Impacted Elections?
Unlike most other countries, Imaginaria will be founded in the digital age. Let’s explore the impact this might have on how you choose to set up your electoral system. Research and answer each question.
- Participation in an electoral system if very important. In what ways does the Internet positively affect participation? In what ways does it negatively affect participation. What roll, if any, should government of Imaginaria play in tempering or promoting the Impact of the Internet?
- Find at least three examples of governments that utilize Internet voting around the world. What concerns have slowed the spread of this technology? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Internet voting? Would you be in favor of Internet voting for Imaginaria? Why or why not?