Covering everything from rederendums to recalls, this lesson takes students to the voting booth and explains what they might see on a typical ballot. Students will discover how voters have the opportunity to initiate change in state and local government.
ANTICIPATE by asking students to share what they know about voting. Use prompts like, “When are the elections?” “Who is allowed to vote?” “Why is voting important?”
DISTRIBUTE one Got Ballot? reading to each student.
READ the material on Reading p. 1 with the class, pausing to discuss as appropriate.
ASK students to brainstorm what they would expect to find on a ballot.
SHOW the party-column ballot and office-block ballot transparencies, noting the differences and similarities. Keep these handy, as you will want to show the ballot questions later in the lesson.
READ through Reading p.2 with the class. You may use the office-block ballot transparency to point out how referendums like these two state constitutional amendments are shown to the voter.
DISTRIBUTE the Got Ballot? worksheet pages to each student.
READ the directions for “Initiative Details” with the class. This ordering exercise will help them arrange the tasks involved with putting an initiative on the ballot. Allow a few minutes for students to try, then review the correct order with the class.
CONTINUE by asking the students to complete the rest of the activities on the worksheet pages.
REVIEW the answers to the remaining activities.
OPTIONAL Visit your local or state board of elections for more information on ballot measures, candidates, and election dates and locations.
Websites like www.votesmart.org show you information about your local elected officials based on your zip code.