Political participation in the United States is low. The need for informed and active citizens is high. Often students are unaware of the policies, procedures, bills, and amendments that delivered the vote to large segments of the American population. This lack of knowledge is a hindrance when these same students are then asked to take part in the voting process. This lesson is part of a larger unit aimed at a historical overview of suffrage in the United States.
This lesson tasks students with learning the process for voter registration, identifying their local polling place, crafting a series of interview questions to conduct a polling place interview on Election Day. After participating in this community-based activity/lesson, students have a personal experience interacting with their own election polling places. The ‘other’ness and mystery is taken out of voting procedures for a group of students on the verge of casting their own first ballot. I hazard a guess that there is nothing more memorable or meaningful for my students in the year long course. This is everything education can and should be: personal, engaged and meaningful.