Lesson 1: Is the right to vote guaranteed?
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Lesson 1: Is the right to vote guaranteed?

It's not as simple as you think. (20 minutes)


Does the US Constitution guarantee all US citizens the right to vote? Explain why or why not. 

1. Write down your response and post on Padlet or Jamboard.

2. Discuss responses.

Small Group or Partner Activity (synchronous or asynchronous): 

View the chart “US Popular Vote for President as Percentage of Total Population” (data sources: US Census Bureau & US Election Atlas)

  • Record the years of the lowest and highest percentage of the US population that voted. What are the approximate lowest and highest percentages of population that voted?
  • When have a majority of US residents elected a president to office?
  • Describe the trend over time (upward, downward, stayed the same).
  • What events or factors do you think lead to this trend?
  • What years did the percentage decline? What events might have caused this decline?

Comparison of U.S. voter turnout to other democracies around the world:

View this report from Pew about voter turnout in recent national elections. Note the comparison chart.

  • What is the difference between voter registration and voter turnout? Why is there such a large gap in the U.S.?
  • Why do you think the United States ranks behind so many other countries in turnout?
  • What policies might help boost turnout in the U.S.?

Review Key Terms

  • Democracy/Democratic
  • Antidemocratic

Check for understanding

On the Padlet or Jamboard, what questions do you have about the data?

Individual activity or homework

Watch, read, or listen to a current news story about voting and elections.
Write down new vocabulary and questions to ask. Summarize the news item through the lens of democracy. Analyze a law, policy, event, or action in the news and explain whether it is democratic or antidemocratic.