Spring Vote 2021 TP Options

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reform the use of Artificial Intelligence technology.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the most cutting edge, relevant topics debaters could be learning about right now. What the industrial revolution did for the 18th century, artificial intelligence is doing for the 21st. A whole slew of new technologies are being developed that will change how we live our daily lives, and old technologies are being improved dramatically too. AI has the potential to reduce cost of living, while improving quality of life. However, AI also has the potential to displace large numbers of workers, and be used in settings where AI may be the one making the call about who lives and who dies. Wherever you can find computers, you can find people developing AI. From the military, to healthcare, to surveillance, to transportation, to agriculture, to criminal justice, AI software is being written that will have profound impacts on the future. How much should these new technologies be regulated? What precautions should the government put in place? How could the government itself use AI to improve its own functions? These questions and more can be explored by debaters under this exciting topic.

Resolved: Election law should be substantially reformed in the United States.

Election law has never been offered as a topic to vote on, because in previous years the debate committee felt the topic would be perceived as boring by Stoa members. Not anymore! The 2020 elections revealed more problems than we’ve ever seen previously. Not only do the vast majority of Americans not understand how the election process actually works, but there is a lot of new and exciting literature being written about how the process can be improved. Debating election law during an election year would cause the topic to lose steam after November. But debating election law the year after a highly controversial election is the perfect timing. Enough time will have passed to allow some of the emotions to cool, but the events will still be fresh enough in everyone’s memory to carry relevance and significance. Debaters will be challenged to learn exactly how the election process works, and what reforms could improve the process. Cases could include voter ID laws, the creation of a federal election holiday, campaign finance reform, absentee ballot reform, changing the voting age, electoral college reform, repealing the 17th amendment, enacting maximum ages for elected officials, ranked choice voting, and so much more.

Resolved: Tort law should be substantially reformed in the United States.

A tort is any civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. While most debate students are probably familiar with the basics of criminal law, tort law is an area less explored, yet just as relevant. Most students will probably never have a need to interact with criminal law (...we hope!), but tort law is an area that all adults can benefit from understanding. What if your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof? What if a doctor makes a mistake that costs you quality of life? What if someone slanders your business on the internet? These all too common situations are what tort law is meant to address: to provide a vehicle for civil remedies. Affirmative teams could address caps on monetary awards, alternative dispute resolutions, changing penalties, reforming the definitions of certain torts, vaccine injuries, frivolous lawsuits, lower pays rules, updating laws for the digital age, and more.