Because a democracy is a government led by its people, voting to elect our leaders is a vital responsibility. As next year’s presidential election is just twelve months away, here are some online resources for learning about the American political process and keeping up with the candidates.

C-SPAN Guide to Campaign Definitions4 stars

From "Absentee Voting: a method of voting which enables registered voters to vote in a given election without physically going to the polls" to "Straw Poll: a non-official, non-scientific study of voter preferences", C-SPAN in the Classroom defines nearly forty common campaign terms. But don't stop here. Roam around the rest of the Campaign 2000 site for a searchable archive of political video and audio, lesson plans and live C-SPAN broadcasts.

Elections in American Memory4 stars

"The American system of elections grew out of intense debate and discussion in the Constitutional Convention. The debate was finally resolved when the Constitution was ratified in 1788. In its last major act following ratification, the Continental Congress scheduled the first federal elections." This online Library of Congress collection reviews the history of voting in America, with links to source documents such as political posters and recorded debates.

Iz and Auggie go to the Polls4 stars

This Headbone adventure for grades four through eight incorporates Internet research and American government. The Iz and Auggie story line is presented in comic strip format, with a research puzzle at the end of each episode. In order to solve the puzzle, access to Ask Jeeves for Kids is integrated into the game. If you get stuck, there are hints to help you but using them will lower your score. Plan on each of the seven episodes taking about fifty minutes.

Online NewsHour: Who Will Be the Next President?4 stars

"Competition between people who want to be the next president of the United States is heating up, even though the election season is still months away." This article ( a "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Special for Students") introduces the Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates. For those that want to dig deeper, links are provided to additional news stories, candidate sites, and voter organizations.

Project Vote Smart: Introduction to US Government5 stars

This concise civics course, with emphasis on the political process, covers both federal and state governments. But that's not all you'll find at the extensive Project Vote Smart ("Knowledge is the source of all power") site. "This national non-partisan, non-profit effort researches, tracks and provides to the public independent factual information on over 13,000 candidates and elected officials. Voting records, campaign issue positions, performance evaluations by special interests, campaign contributions, backgrounds, previous experience, and contact information are available."

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Ben's Guide to US Government

BrainPOP: US Presidential Elections

Election Comic Strip Vocabulary

Rock the Vote

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Elections." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 20 Oct. 1999. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/elections/ >.

About This Page

By . Originally published October 20, 1999. Last modified October 20, 1999.

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