GED Reading Practice Test 4

This is our fourth GED Language Arts practice test. On the GED you will definitely be asked to make specific comparisons between two texts. For this practice test we have provided a news article and a related letter. Continue your GED Language Arts test prep by reading these passages and answering the practice questions.

Portage County Clerk Warns Residents About Following Election Laws
By Mark Johannsen, Contributing Editor

Portage County Clerk Samantha Gustavson warned residents on Monday about the need for honesty and security with absentee ballots. These ballots, which allow residents to vote in elections even if they are going to be out of town on election day, are “official, legal documents,” she warned in Monday’s news release.

“If someone you know has received an absentee ballot, but will be unable to sign the ballot and return it before November 6, it is a crime for you to sign the ballot envelope for them and return it. Signing this legal document in someone else’s name will put you at personal legal risk and prevent this person’s ballot from being counted.”

Gustavson went on to warn residents that the county clerk’s office has very sophisticated ways of detecting malfeasance and that attempting to forge a ballot is just “not worth it.” According to Ohio state voting laws, anyone convicted of voting twice in an election could face up to 2 years in jail and be forced to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

This news release comes directly on the heels of recent accusations by Republican leadership that voter fraud is a serious problem in our country. When asked, via email, if voter fraud is a serious problem in Portage County, Gustavson responded, “we have no reason to believe that voter fraud is occurring in our county to the degree that it is a ‘problem.’ We just want to be sure that people understand the rules and that no one accidentally puts themselves in legal jeopardy. If someone were to find a blank ballot that is not intended for them, they should discard it immediately or return it to the county clerk’s office.”

 

Letter to the County Clerk

To: Portage County Clerk’s Office
From: Ines Mendina, Aurora resident
Date: October 17

Dear Mrs. Gustavson,

I was very upset to read your press release about potential voter fraud with absentee ballots in our county. In an article written in the Aurora Advocate, you stated that you don’t believe voter fraud is a problem in our county. So, why did you need to write a press release about it? We have a serious problem in our country with misinformation, and these types of thoughtless warnings only add fuel to the fire. Republicans in Congress and the Oval Office are screaming about voter fraud and the threat that it poses on our country with no evidence to suggest that any of this fraud is occurring. Warnings like yours only feed into this rhetoric. Even though you don’t believe it’s a problem, you send out a warning to Portage County residents without thinking twice. Residents see your warning and hear Republican leaders shouting about voter fraud and begin to think that this is a real problem in our county. You need to understand how your actions as an elected official affect your constituents. If you don’t think voter fraud is a real problem in Portage County, why didn’t you also mention that in your press release? I find it hard to believe that you’re intentionally providing misinformation to our residents in order to sow distrust in the voting process, but whether it was intentional or not, that’s what you have done. Everyone in this country deserves the right to vote and have their voice heard, and it’s carelessness like this that threatens that right. Absentee ballots serve an important role in the voting process, and warnings like these could motivate voters to call for a ban on all absentee votes. Please have your office immediately release a statement expressing your lack of concern over actual voter fraud.

Sincerely,

Ines Mendina

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Question 1
What is the purpose of including the phrase, “which allow residents to vote in elections even if they are going to be out of town on election day” in the first paragraph of Johannsen’s article?

A
It’s important for the readers to know what absentee ballots are in order to understand the article.
B
The county clerk has explained absentee ballots incorrectly and the writer wants to provide the correct information.
C
According to the article, most residents of Portage County don’t know what absentee ballots are.
D
The writer is sarcastically suggesting that Portage County shouldn’t allow absentee ballots.
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A) because the writer is including this information just to provide background so that readers can understand the rest of the article. There’s no evidence that providing this information is meant to suggest that absentee ballots are wrong, as in answer choice (D), or that the county clerk has provided misinformation, as suggested in answer choice (B). While answer choice (C) might be partially true, the article doesn’t opine that resident don’t know what absentee ballots are; it simply provides the information in case any readers are uninformed.
Question 2
What is the purpose of including information about the legal penalties associated with voter fraud in the news article?

A
To show residents that the penalty for voter fraud is not very severe, so Gustavson’s, warning isn’t really worth listening to.
B
To let residents know that Gustavson is telling truth about legal consequences.
C
To point out to residents that voter fraud is not a real problem in Portage County.
D
So that residents who want to commit voter fraud know how they will be punished.
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B) because the statement of legal penalties comes right after the clerk’s warning that they are good at catching voter fraud. These both work together as an effective warning to residents. This warning, however, is not meant to embolden criminals, as is suggested in answer choice (D). Answer choice (A) is incorrect because the penalty stated is pretty severe, but also because there is nothing in the article to indicate that the writer thinks that people should commit voter fraud. While the article does eventually point out that voter fraud isn’t a problem in the county, answer choice (C) is incorrect because that is not the purpose of the sentence in question.
Question 3
What implication is Johannsen making in the opening sentence of his 4th paragraph?

A
Voter fraud is a big problem in Portage County.
B
People who fill out absentee ballots are voting illegally.
C
The county clerk has been motivated by Republican leadership, who assert that voter fraud is a big problem.
D
The county clerk is not doing her job properly and needs to be investigated.
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C) because the sentence serves as a transition into the writer’s questioning of the county clerk. By pointing out the timing of the clerk’s news release, he is implying that she was motivated by recent news. He does not go as far as to accuse Gustavson of not doing her job properly, so answer choice (D) is incorrect. Answer choice (A) is directly refuted in the rest of the paragraph, and answer choice (B) is not supported by anything in the article.
Question 4
Which detail in the letter from Ines Mendina supports the idea that the county clerk’s warnings are “thoughtless”?

A
“…could motivate voters to call for a ban on all absentee votes.”
B
“I was very upset to read your press release about potential voter fraud…”
C
“Republicans in Congress and the Oval Office are screaming about voter fraud…”
D
“I find it hard to believe that you’re intentionally providing misinformation…”
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A) because it is the only answer choice that suggests the potential fallout of the county clerk’s warnings. Taken alone, answer choices (B), (C), and (D) don’t suggest the potential consequences of the county clerk’s press release.
Question 5
Which of the following words or phrases helps to express Medina’s disappointment with “Republican Leaders”?

A
“carelessness”
B
“thoughtless”
C
“screaming”
D
“fuel to the fire”
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C) because it is the only word the writer uses in congress with her discussion of “Republican leaders.” She criticizes them for “screaming” about a voter fraud problem that doesn’t exist. She uses the words and phrases from answer choices (A), (B), and (D) to specifically display her disappointment with the county clerk, Samantha Gustavson.
Question 6
What purpose does the following sentence serve in the letter: “I find it hard to believe that you’re intentionally providing misinformation to our residents in order to sow distrust in the voting process, but whether it was intentional or not, that’s what you have done”?

A
To directly accuse the county clerk of lying to residents of Portage County.
B
It supports the writer’s assertion that the county clerk didn’t do anything wrong.
C
It serves as an accusation that the county clerk is working to support Republican leadership.
D
It is meant to make the county clerk feel guilty for how her press release has potentially affected residents of Portage County.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D) because the sentence is meant to make the county clerk feel guilty. The writer softens the blow of her judgment by clarifying that she doesn’t think the county clerk has done anything “intentionally,” then suggests that her actions have an unintended negative effect on residents. The beginning of the sentence clearly shows that this isn’t an accusation of intentional guilt, therefore answer choices (A) and (C) are incorrect. The second half of the sentences, which references the consequences of the clerk’s actions, make answer choice (C) incorrect.
Question 7
Based on the news article and the letter, Johannsen and Mendina share which perspective?

A
Samantha Gustavso, the County Clerk, is misleading Portage County residents.
B
Voter fraud is a big problem in Portage County.
C
Republican leadership instructed Gustavson, either directly or indirectly, to make a press release about fraudulent absentee ballots.
D
Voter fraud is not a problem in Portage County.
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D) because it is an idea expressed directly in both passages. In the news article, Johannsen quotes Gustavson admitting that it isn’t a problem, and the main point of Mendina’s letter is that voter fraud is not a real problem. It’s possible that both writers believe answer choices (A) and (C), but there is no evidence in the passages to prove it. Answer choice (B) is directly refuted in each passage.
Question 8
How do the views expressed in Johannsen and Mendina’s passages differ?

A
Mendina’s passage is an unbiased, while Johannsen’s passage is very opinionated.
B
Johannsen believes Gustavson is willfully lying to Portage County, while Mendina thinks that Gustavson just doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions.
C
Johannsen’s passage is an unbiased, while Mendina’s passage is very opinionated.
D
Mendina believes Gustavson is willfully lying to Portage County, while Johannsen thinks that Gustavson just doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions.
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C) because Johannsen’s passage is a news article, which is supposed to remain unbiased, while Mendina’s passage is an opinionated letter. This makes answer choice (A) incorrect. Answer choices (B) and (D) are incorrect because neither of the writers directly accuses Gustavson of willful wrongdoing. Only Mendina suggests that what Gustavson is doing is wrong, but she prefaces that accusation by saying “I find it hard to believe that you’re intentionally providing misinformation to our ressidents…”
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