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Monday, April 30, 2012

How to become President

What's the process for becoming President of the United States? Use this poster to help kids visualize the path to the oval office!

Download PDF
Order free poster

More resources

How do we elect the President?
Office of the President

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kids can vote in NC Primary

Want to weigh in on your picks for President, Congress and more?

Between April 26 and May 8, K-12 Charlotte-area students have the opportunity to cast their votes in the primary election with easy-to-use online ballots.  Voting will be open through 7:30PM on May 8. Results will be announced May 9.

To vote, click on the buttons below. On the ballot:

  • Grades K-2 - President
  • Grades 3-5 - President, Congress
  • Grades 6-8 - President, Congress, Governor
  • Grades 9-12 - President, Congress, Governor, Amendment One


Learn more

Find your congressional district
Learn about the candidates
Access curriculum and other educational tools
Download PDF of K-5 presentation
Download PDF of 6-12 presentation



North Carolina Primary

K-12 students vote now!

Vote online April 26-May 8.
Results announced May 9.


Contact us

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A great year to use the Kids Voting USA curriculum!

We are proud to be a 20-year Kids Voting USA partner!

In this exciting year,use Kids Voting USA's classroom activities to help your students learn about the election process, voting, democracy, civic engagement, media literacy and more!

To access the free online lessons, take the following steps
  1. Go to 
  2. A login page will open.
  • If you are a NEW USER
    • Click on the register link
    • Enter, and re-enter, your email address
    • Fill in your first name and last name
    • For affiliate name, write “Kids Voting Charlotte”
    • Fill in your school name and city
    • Choose your state from the drop-down box
    • Create, and re-enter, a password
    • Fill in the “captcha” code
    • Click “register” 
    • Within a period of time, you will receive an email from Kids Voting USA with a     confirmation and other login information
  •  If you are a RETURNING USER
    • Login using your email and password
3. After you log in, an introductory curriculum page will open.

4. Go to the bottom of the page, and select the appropriate links for your grade level
  • K-2 activities
  • 3-5 activities
  • 6-8 activities
  • 9-12 activities
5. Using the curriculum
The Kids Voting USA curriculum is designed to be flexible and easy to incorporate into existing lesson plans.  Within each age grouping, activities are divided into 4 major themes. From the curriculum page, click on the appropriate theme to access the individual activities.
  • Elections and Voting -The intent of this theme is to educate students about elections, from gaining an appreciation of the power of voting including what suffrage is and why it is an important concept today to understanding the registration process and participating in an election.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: My Vote Gives Me Power; I Register and Vote; and Suffrage Then and Now. Note: lessons in other themes tie in to elections and voting
  • Democracy and the People -The intent of this theme is to provide an understanding of and a context for American democracy and citizenship, from the rights and responsibilities of students in their local, state and national communities to the world beyond.  The theme’s activities fall under four concepts: What is Democracy; Democracy in America; A Citizen’s Rights and Responsibilities; and Democracy in the World.
  • Informed Citizen -The intent of this theme is for students to learn how to evaluate information, intelligently form decisions and communicate your positions to others.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: I Study the Candidates and Issues; Gathering and Weighing Information; and Technology/Media Literacy.
  • Civic Engagement/Service Learning -The intent of this theme is for students to practice the skills of democratic living as they learn important civic lessons in the classroom and participate in activities in their communities.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: Working Together; I Make A Difference; and Communicating with Others.

6. For your convenience, a PDF file of each activity is available for printing

7. ESL resources are also available on the website

8. Curriculum is aligned to national, state and district standards and goals. Alignment guides for the Common Core, North Carolina Essential Standards for Social Studies and other correlations are being developed in mid-2012. This content will be posted at and shared with teacher contacts. Contact us  for information.

Access Kids Voting USA curriculum and more information
Access Kids Voting USA curriculum
Download instructions for accessing curriculum
Lists of curriculum activities and more information
Kids Voting election

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How do we elect the President of the United States?

If Election Day is November 6, that's the only day we have to think about electing a president...right? Wrong! There are many steps in the presidential election process. And - surprise! - the president is not officially chosen until the Electoral College votes in December - and those votes are counted on January 6, 2013. Here are the major steps it takes to elect the President of the United States:

Candidate announces that he or she is entering the race.

Primaries and Caucuses
Members of the same party run against each other, trying to become the party’s candidate. Each state holds its elections on specific dates in January-June.
  • Primaries: Party members vote for candidates, win delegates to the convention. North Carolina’s primary is May 8, 2012.
  • Caucuses: Party members select delegates to the convention at meetings.

Representatives, or delegates, of each political party meet to talk about the party platform and officially nominate their candidate. This person runs for President of the United States. 2012 conventions:
  • Libertarian Party - May 3-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Republican Party – August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida
  • Democratic Party – September 3-7 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Fall campaign and debates
Through campaigns, speeches, political ads and debates, the candidates communicate their positions on different issues. This is an important time when voters learn about the candidates, think about their positions, and decide who to vote for!

Election Day
Voters vote for president. This is called the “popular vote.” Election Day is November 6. In North Carolina, Early Voting begins in late October.

Electoral College
Through the “popular vote”, voters are really voting for electors who are pledged to a candidate. The Electoral College is made up of all of the electors.
  • The electors vote in December. A candidate must get at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes to win the election.
  • On January 6, Congress officially counts the ballots. If no candidate has at least 270 votes, the U.S. House of Representatives selects the president and the U.S. Senate selects the vice president.

Inauguration Day
The president and vice president are sworn into office on January 20. In 2013, it is possible that the President will have more than one swearing-in ceremony. Why?
  • January 20th is a Sunday. By law, the President must take the Oath of Office before noon. In 1985, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in on a Sunday, it was a private ceremony. A public event took place the following day.
  • In 2013, January 21st is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a federal holiday. People who plan the Inauguration will decide if the public ceremony should happen on that date, or on Tuesday, January 22. Stay tuned for more information!

Learn more

Electoral College
Office of the President
Path to the Oval Office
2012 Primaries calendar
Vote in the NC primary
Download handout - Electing a President

The Office of the President

The President of the United States

The office of the President of the United States is one of the most powerful positions in the world.

There are only a few hundred words in the U.S. Constitution about the president’s duties and powers but those few words give the President many powers.

The origin of all presidential power is in the U.S. Constitution and to understand the presidential role as it is currently exercised, one must understand this important founding document.  In addition, through time and tradition, other expectations and powers are placed on the President even though they are not spelled out in the Constitution.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution outlines the office, role, responsibilities and powers of the President of the United States.

Constitutional roles and powers of the President include:

  • Address Congress and nation
  • Commander-in-chief
  • Conduct foreign policy
  • Faithfully administer federal law
  • Maintain order
  • Negotiate treaties
  • Nominate top officials
  • Pardon for federal offenses
  • Veto bills

Additional roles and informal powers include:

  • Bargainer and persuader
  • Budget setter
  • Coalition-builder
  • Conflict resolver
  • Crisis manager
  • Legislative leader
  • Morale builder
  • Party leader
  • Personnel recruiter
  • Priority setter
  • World leader

Learn more

U.S. Constitution
The Executive Branch
Office of the President handout

Monday, April 16, 2012

James K. Polk - Charlotte's first president

Did you know a president was born in Mecklenburg County?

That's right! The 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk.

The President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville is creating a temporary exhibit to educate the public about the history of political conventions in the United States and the role of conventions in American politics!

It will also cover the 1844 Democratic Convention in Maryland and James K. Polk’s presidential nomination. Visit the James K. Polk siste and learn about the history of these lively events! The exhibit is open April 14-November 10, 2012.

James K. Polk is Mecklenburg's first president. Who will be the second one? Maybe you!

Learn more

James K. Polk Historic Site
President James K. Polk
Election of 1844

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doing democracy!

Want to find great lessons, ideas and activities that help your students learn about elections, voting and democracy North Carolina? Check out the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium (CEC). CEC works with schools, governments, and community organizations to prepare North Carolina's young people to be active, responsible citizens. The Consortium offers professional development for teachers and free, online lesson plans in the Database of Civic Resources.

Selected lessons and activities

Find more in the Database of Civic Resources

What Kind of Citizen Are You?
Doing Democracy
Can You Hear Me NOW? North Carolina’s Pre-Registration Law   and accompanying PPT
How Do I Pre-Register and Vote in North Carolina?
North Carolina’s Proposed Voter ID Bill
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment & the Power of Youth
Roles & Powers of the President
Propaganda & Spin
The Electoral College
Political Parties and Conventions   and accompanying PPT

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Electoral College

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College was established by the Founding Fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. Every four years, Americans cast their votes for president. Within each state, those votes go toward the electors who then vote for the President.

Learn more

  •  Order the free poster from C-SPAN here (one per registered teacher/classroom)