Election Day is just around the corner, and I’ve got some ideas to involve children, yet remain “politically correct.” A week before the election ask children to tell you what they know about the upcoming election. (Try to remain as neutral as possible!) Explain that we are lucky to live in a democracy where every person gets to vote – and every vote matters! Tell the children they must be 18 to register as a voter, but you are going to have a “mock” (pretend) election in your classroom.
1st – Children must register to vote before the election. Let them sign their name on a sheet of paper and fill out a voter registration card.
2nd – Let children help you decorate a voting booth and a ballot box. Remind them about the importance of a “secret ballot” so nobody knows how you voted and nobody can tell you what to do.
*A cardboard box set up on a table with one side cut off makes a perfect voting booth. A shoebox or cardboard box with a slit cut in the top will do for the ballot box.
3rd – Prepare a ballot with classroom activities children can vote on. You could have two books, two games, two songs, two art projects, etc. (Picture clues will help younger children with their selection.) Demonstrate how to mark their choice with an "X."
4th – On November 6th (or November 5th if your school is closed Election Day) choose three children at a time to “work” the polls. One child crosses off names on the voter registration sheet. One child stands at the voting booth and hands out ballots. A third child presides over the ballot box. After children have voted, let them make an “I Voted” badge from red, white, and blue paper.
5th – Count the votes and then read the book, sing the song, or play the game that won the most votes.
Frequently throughout the year, let children vote on class activities (where either option is acceptable). The one with the most votes is the winner. The majority rules!