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School Desegregation: A Community’s Response,

Sarah Taylor, Salem City Schools

The challenge of protecting civil rights in a democracy, the intersection between state and local government, the activity of citizens in their local school board and administration, and the role of the media in addressing controversial issues are…

What are Initiatives and Referendums?,

Rob Campbell

Currently, 24 states have some form of initiative and referendum process. Citizens can use the ballot initiative process to implement laws on their own; conversely, a referendum places an existing law to a popular vote. In this activity, students…

Virginia Constitution, 1864,

Virginia General Assembly

Virginia signed its first constitution in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971. Our current…

Virginia Constitution, 1830,

Virginia General Assembly

Virginia signed its first constitution in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971. Our current…

Virginia Constitution, 1776,

George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and others

Virginia signed its first constitution in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971. Our current…

Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776,

Thomas Jefferson

Virginia signed its first constitution, drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870,…

Virginia State Board of Elections,

Virginia State Board of Elections

The official election website of the state of Virginia includes practical information about elections, such as detailed information on when, where, and how to vote. There are also sections on what is on your ballot and an informative guide to the election process. Overall, the Virginia State Board of Elections website provides a primer on the ins-and-outs of the electoral process that can help demystify what happens at the polls.

Project Vote Smart,

Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart aims to provide voters with information about key election issues, biographical information about candidates, and voting records. One of its best properties is the level of detail given to state and local elections. Visitors can search by zip code to find information about candidates in their area, go directly to Virginia’s profile page, or even find links to local election offices. Find out who your representatives are, how their votes are affecting your life, and how you can vote in your area.

Elections the American Way,

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has created an excellent resource that both explains how the electoral process works and gives a historical perspective. The website offers an overview of candidates, voters, the party system, the election process, and issues throughout U.S. history. Quotations, pictures, and memorabilia from key Virginian presidents are scattered throughout the website. This is an excellent resource for understanding how the electoral system developed, and it has instructions for presidential craft projects.

Public Agenda: Helping Americans Explore Today's Issues,

Public Agenda

This website provides a wealth of up-to-date coverage of current issues, from America's role in the international community to Social Security. A large section for educators includes resources for teachers, students, parents, and leaders. Topics such as the rising cost of college tuition are particularly relevant for those involved in education. While there are limited resources specifically aimed at Virginia, the broader issues covered by the website can easily be oriented to fit discussions about their specific application on the state and local level.