Ideas for Use in the Classroom

Before introducing this topic to the class, review the resources, which can be used to answer questions about how various states in the United States handle voter registration and ideas for increasing voter registration and turnout in the present-day. Consider choosing one resource for registration and another for participation, and then dividing those resources among small groups or pairs to report back to the class. Alternatively, have each group skim a different resource to pull out the most interesting/important information. Groups can be formed and resources can be assigned based on the students’ learning styles and capabilities.

Begin with the map “Voter Registration in the U.S., 1990.” As a class, review the legend and discuss any patterns the data shows. What questions does the map raise for them? What do they think may have changed since 1990? (The students may refer to: the demographic changes, the fact that the United States has since had its first black president, or the changes in voter registration laws.) Set the map aside and proceed to the student review of the resources.

After the students have viewed and discussed the assigned resources, discuss the following topics:

  • Current voter registration data and analysis
  • Current participation data and analysis
  • Change since 1990

Work as a class to list 1) issues the students see with the way voter registration is currently handled, 2) their thoughts about the initiatives, and 3) how they think registration links to participation. Finally, take a class vote on what the students think are the best ideas for increasing A) voter registration and B) voter participation. If you like, you could run this final segment as a formal meeting, using Robert’s Rules of Order, and have students nominate, second, debate, and vote on ideas.


having to do with the social characteristics and statistics of a population.


taking part in an activity.


to enroll or be recorded in a list or database.


to choose.


individual with the legal right to vote

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