Skip to main content
student votes

Why Voting Matters in the United States: Then and Now

October 23, 2023 | 1 comment

Why Voting Matters in the United States: Then and Now

Learn how you can help students develop critical thinking skills and understand why being engaged citizens matters.

Share

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Pinterest
Share On LinkedIn
Email

By Dr. Liz Fogel

Across the United States, elections are held every month; and voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities of our citizenship. It is a way for citizens to have a say in how our government is run and to make decisions that affect their lives. As educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students about the significance of voting and to help them develop the critical thinking skills they need to be informed and engaged citizens.

Here are some ways you can help your students understand why voting matters:

1. Teach about the history of voting rights. The right to vote has not always been guaranteed to all citizens. It was only after years of struggle and sacrifice that women, Black people, and other marginalized groups were able to win the right to vote. By teaching students about the history of voting rights, we can help them appreciate the value of this right and the importance of exercising it.

2. Explain the differences between local, state, and federal governments and how each election impacts the laws that govern us. Teachers can help students learn about the different types of elections, the qualifications for candidates, the use of ballot measures, etc.

3. Facilitate the cultivation of critical thinking skills in students. It is crucial for students to engage in thoughtful analysis of issues significant to them and make informed decisions regarding the consequences of voting choices. Educators play a pivotal role in nurturing students’ media and information literacy skills by guiding them in evaluating the accuracy of diverse media sources.

Here are some videos that can spark classroom conversations about elections.

You can find more at https://untoldhistory.org/ and follow us on TikTok (@untoldhistoryedu) or Instagram (@untoldedu).

Election of 1800: Presidential Tie

Remote video URL

Questions to ask:

  • Why was the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution written?
  • How did it change the way presidential elections are conducted?
  • What lessons can we learn from the election of 1800 about the importance of compromise and bipartisanship?

Election of 1824: When the House Chose

Remote video URL

Questions to ask:

  • How did the election of 1824 lead to the development of the two-party system in the United States?
  • What impact did the election of 1824 have on American politics?

Why Does America Make It So Hard to Vote?

Remote video URL

Questions to ask:

  • How do voter ID laws impact different demographics, and what arguments exist for and against their implementation?
  • In what ways do gerrymandering practices affect the accessibility and fairness of the voting process? Discuss the recent electoral map in Alabama.

For additional videos and lesson plans, learn more about All In.  

Liz Fogel

About the Author

Dr. Lizabeth Fogel is the Vice President, Learning, Strategy and Development at DoGoodery, LLC. She has decades of successful experience in learning content development, educational media, and business.

Read her full bio.

Once Upon A Time: Film as a Narrative Springboard for Investigating Race and Racism

Join DoGoodery for this free, on demand webinar to learn how to use films in the classroom to foster transformative learning and facilitate learners connecting what is learned to what is felt, which is a key component of transformative learning and behavior change.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Want to see more stories like this one? Subscribe to the SML e-newsletter!

Untold History

Untold History explores stories, people and artifacts that students won’t learn about in an ordinary text book. Perhaps now more than ever, our history is a vital and very present part of the world around us.

Advertisement

Post a comment

Log in or sign up to post a comment.
Eric Civault
Eric Civault October 23, 2023, 6:39 pm

My daughter is currently still studying, and I often teach her the importance of voting correctly. She needs to find out if that person really deserves to be voted for. I also teach her the history of the leaders of the country. I believe that through this matter, I can help her make the right decision.