Learn About Civic Engagement on National Voter Registration Day!

Tuesday, September 20th is National Voter Registration Day across the United States of America.

First observed in 2012, this holiday celebrates civic participation in America’s democratic process and provides greater voter registration opportunities for people across our country — especially those who may not otherwise register to vote. Volunteers and organizations nationwide distribute ballot initiative information, help citizens register for the first time or update their registration information, explain early voting options and more. Nearly 4.7 million voters have registered to vote on this holiday to date!

National Voter Registration Day is also a great opportunity to introduce the topic of civic participation and elections to young children, while giving greater context and insight to young adults. Keep scrolling for activities, videos, discussion prompts and lesson plans to teach about the importance of voting, voters rights across the nation, and how those rights have changed and evolved over the decades.

Did you know, according to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans aren’t registered to vote. Don’t wait — register to vote this September!

For adults and teens over the age of 18, explore this County Boards of Election Map for contact information and local enrollment statistics. And visit the New York State Voting Information webpage to review required voter qualifications, how and when to register, and to download your own Voter Registration Form.

Jump to article sections:

Learn More About Civic Participation & Voting

Queen Sara Explains Voting | Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Grades PreK-K
Queen Sara and King Friday want to put a new piece of playground equipment in the playground, but they can only choose one – a swing or a slide. So, they explain the process of voting to Daniel Tiger and his friends and ask them to stop, think and choose before voting on the one they’d like.

You, Me and Community | “Let’s Take a Vote”

Grades PreK-K
Let’s take a vote – it’s the fairest way for everyone to have an equal say! This catchy song from PBS KIDS’ “You, Me, and Community” helps young children understand why we vote.

How to Talk to Children About Politics

Grades PreK-5
Talking to children about voting, politics, and civic engagement can feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips on how to help kids understand how to be participants in creating positive change.

Is It Too Hard to Vote in the U.S.? | Above the Noise

Grades 6-12
Americans face many obstacles when it comes to voting and it reflects in our voter turnout numbers. The process of getting registered and getting to the polls isn’t the same for everyone and depending on where you are it can make voting really hard and these hurdles can discourage people from voting altogether. In this virtual learning-ready lesson, students evaluate evidence around whether or not it’s too hard to vote in the U.S.

We The Voters Collection

Grades 6-12
Before the 2016 Election, PBS Education partnered with We The Voters, a nonpartisan digital project featuring short films to activate voters across the country. The films and accompanying lesson plans, now edited to be useful for any election season, provide a fresh, engaging perspective on democracy, elections, governance, and debating.

Election Basics | Crash Course Government and Politics

Grades 9-12
There are a lot of people in the U.S, and holding individual issues up to a public vote doesn’t seem particularly plausible. To deal with this complexity, we vote for people, not policies, that represent our best interests. But as you’ll see, this process was not thoroughly addressed in the Constitution, so there have been a number of amendments and laws at the state level implemented to create the election system we all know and (maybe) love today.

Books, Games & Activities

The Election Problem | Peg + Cat

Grades PreK-K
Peg and Cat are holding an election to see who can get the most votes to be in charge of the chickens while the farmer goes to market. In this interactive storybook, your child can watch and count along as the chickens vote for their favorite candidate.

9 Picture Books About Voting and Elections

Grades PreK-4
It’s National Voter Registration Day! These books can help you jump-start a conversation with your kids about voting, democracy, citizenship, and equality.

FRONTLINE: How Voting Laws Have Changed

Grades 9-12
Examine data about the voting rights laws that most impact Americans’ access to the ballot box and how they’ve changed across the country in recent years, in this interactive from FRONTLINE: Ballot Watch. Voting laws influence who can vote and when and how they cast their ballots. This interactive provides a state-by-state analysis of voting laws as they pertain to early voting, felons, absentee voting, and voter ID requirements. It compares the situation in 2010, when many states began introducing more restrictive voter bills, to that in 2014.