Milestones in US Voting History

by: Sarah Episcopo & Fred Gerwig

There are many organizations dedicated to the cause of encouraging citizens to register to vote and once registered-cast their ballot.  As we have learned in Civics it has taken a long time and true hard work by many Americans to ensure that all citizens at the age of eighteen are granted the right to vote.  It is amazing that campaigns such as Rock the Vote have been established because eligible citizens were not exercising their right to participate in our government

Part One:


  1. Please think about the term “eligible voter.” Who are considered “eligible voters” in our country today? 
  1. You will be divided into small groups, and assigned each one of the following years. Have the group look in your books or search online sources to find out what happened to voting rights in that year:
    • 1870: (The 15th Amendment says that no state can take away a citizen's right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Before that, many states did not allow African-Americans to vote.) Team 1
    • 1920: (The 19th Amendment grants women the right to vote.) Team 4
    • 1966: (Poll taxes, which were often used to keep African-Americans from voting, are declared unconstitutional.) Team 1
    • 1971: (The 26th Amendment lowers the voting age from 21 to 18.) Team 3
    • 1975: (All literacy requirements for voting are ended.) Team 2

You may find this site helpful,  

    The teacher will call one person from each group to write their significant information on the collective timeline (i.e. poster board).  The students will create this time line to highlight these hard-earned changes in voting rights.  The students will be given an opportunity to discuss this timeline.

    Part Two:        

    Each team will be assigned a team ID and password.

Teacher ID: SarahFred

 Team ID
 Team01 One
 Team03 Three
 Team04 Four


These passwords will be used at the Intel website where you and your group members will use the ranking tool.

Click above hyperlink and follow the directions.  When finished return to this page. 

Part three:

You should now have an understanding of the horizons of voting in the United States.  The link below will test that knowledge.  Good luck.

Voting Rights Game 


This assignment was created for 12th graders in a CIVICs class.   It would be beneficial year round, although the students may have a greater appreciation for the content closer to a big election.   

You have completed this lesson plan.  I hope you have enjoyed the lesson and have a greater appreciation for your civic duty as an American citizen.  Whenever you become an eligible voter don’t sit at home…VOTE. 

WV CSOs Utilized

SS.O.12.1.2analyze the roles of citizens in influencing and monitoring public policy at the local, state, and national levels.
examine and analyze the rights, privileges, responsibilities and duties of active civic participants.


1b Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Teachers: engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.
 2a Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S. Teachers: design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.

Additional Resources

This PDF contains a timeline of major US voting rights milestones and may be of use as an additional resource: