Expansion of Voting Rights

This lesson provides students with a brief overview of the historical evolution and expansion of voting rights in the United States. Students will discuss examples of previous “voting qualifications” used by states in the past to deny minorities the right to vote. They will reflect on why the right to vote is important, and appreciate the outcomes of constitutional amendments, Supreme Court decisions, and the Voting Rights Act in the expansion of this right.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

How the Law Regulates Who Votes

In this lesson, students will discuss what qualifications are necessary to vote. The activity presents a series of potential voters for a student council election, and asks that students either allow or prohibit each person from voting. After reflecting on their justifications, they will learn that states and the federal government have very few restrictions on voting. The instructor might then lead a discussion on the importance of voting to the democratic process

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Voting: Should voting be compulsory in our democracy?

Free and fair elections are essential to a democracy. Through voting, people express their views about government. They choose leaders who will improve their country and community. But what happens when people choose not to vote? Does that indicate democracy is thriving or failing? What, if anything, should be done to improve voter turnout? This lesson provides students with background information and arguments for and against making voting compulsory.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Voting and the Constitution

Students will learn about the Constitution’s many provisions for voting, including how votes affect the makeup of the government and its branches. The lesson and lesson extensions will have students engage in activities and participate in discussions about how officials are chosen in the three branches of government and how the election process includes the Electoral College.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Voting Rights in America

The history of the amendments to the Constitution is, in one sense, a history of the expansion of certain political freedoms, including voting. At the Founding of the United States, many groups, including landless white men, slaves, free blacks, and women, could not vote. Much has changed since then. Almost a third of the amendments added to the Constitution after the Bill of Rights was ratified concern the ability to vote. The Nineteenth Amendment gave the vote to women, while the Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth amendments gave representation to the District of Columbia, forbid poll taxes, and lowered the voting age to 18, respectively. The passage of each of these Amendments reflected a shift towards making voting a right of all citizens, and indeed a fundamental part of citizenship.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Voting Rights (Lesson Plan)

Explore the evolution of voting rights in the United States through an interactive PowerPoint presentation highlighting landmark changes. Following the presentation and class discussion, students apply the new knowledge of voting legislation to individual scenarios through a class activity. This lesson is one in a series called “Civil Rights.”

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Decision Making in a Democracy

Voting is one of the most basic ways to participate in a democratic society. While there are many other ways to participate as well, voting is regarded by many as the most fundamental right and responsibility of the citizen. This lesson introduces primary students to the concept of voting and group decision-making.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5