Teaching Elections: 50 Voting Questions for Students

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Looking for lesson plan inspiration? Below are 50 questions for students, starting with the basics and moving to more advanced questions at the end.

Note: If you’re looking for an engaging way to teach about elections and voting, I highly highly highly recommend you check out the Election Night board game for the classroom. Find more info here.

Election Cycles

  1. How often do we vote for president?
  2. How often do we vote for senators?
  3. How often do we vote for representatives?
  4. What is a general election?
  5. What is a midterm election?

Election Processes

  1. What is the electoral college?
  2. If a presidential candidate wins the popular vote, do they become president?
  3. What happens if there is a tie in a presidential election?
  4. In the context of elections, what is a delegate? What is a superdelegate?
  5. How many votes does a candidate need from the electoral college to become president?
  6. Who chooses the vice-presidential candidate?

The Ballot

  1. What does “incumbent” mean?
  2. What does it mean to be an ‘independent” candidate?
  3. What does “straight-ticket” or “straight-party” voting mean?
  4. Is your vote secret?
  5. What is an absentee ballot?

Key Terms and Distinctions

  1. What is the difference between a general election and a primary?
  2. What is the difference between an election and a referendum?
  3. What types of public officials are appointed instead of elected?
  4. What does the term “popular vote” mean?
  5. What does the term “swing state” mean?
  6. What is the difference between a caucus and a primary?

The Act of Voting

  1. What government agency in your state is responsible for holding elections?
  2. Who is allowed to vote in the U.S.? Can you think of exceptions?
  3. If you’re a U.S. citizen over the age of 18 traveling in another country during an election, can you still vote? How?
  4. What things do voters need to register in your state? Bonus: where and when can citizens register to vote?
  5. Is voting mandatory in the U.S.?

Open-ended Questions

  1. What are some basic voter responsibilities and duties?
  2. Do you think presidential debates are helpful? Why or why not?
  3. Is voting the only way citizens shape government policies? How might citizens help change government policy in between elections?
  4. Do you think each vote really counts? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think instances of voter fraud are so low in the U.S.?
  6. How could the voting process be improved?
  7. Do you think voting should be mandatory?
  8. Do you think 18 is the right age to be able to vote? Why or why not?
  9. Should the U.S. get rid of the electoral college? Why or why not?
  10. Describe the process of running for president in the U.S.
  11. Why are campaign finance laws so important in elections?
  12. What do you think would make politics less divisive for the country?
  13. How do you think the U.S. could get higher voter turnout?
  14. What do you think would make youth more interested in voting and getting involved in civic life?
  15. What role do you think special interest groups play in elections?
  16. If you were running for president, what would you make your key issue(s) during your campaign?
  17. Can you name your senators and representative? Who are they and what do you know about them?
  18. Do you think citizens should be able to vote online? Why or why not?

History and Election Quarks (Advanced)

  1. Why are general elections always held on a Tuesday in November?
  2. Why is Iowa so important in the U.S. presidential election process?
  3. What was the reasoning for the creation of the electoral college?
  4. Who was the first U.S. president of the 21st century? The 20th century? 19th? 18th?
  5. What is a “top-two” primary? Can you name a state that uses this system?

Looking for more education materials? Check out the Education & Games resource page for creative ways to teach civics to students of all ages.

Dan Jasper

Dan Jasper is the founder and primary author of Street Civics. He specializes in advocacy and international affairs.

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