Should We Renew?
A Webquest on America’s Voting Rights Act

Johnson Signing


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 banished any obstacles local communities could establish to keep United States citizens from voting. Before this act was passed, states and counties could require voting tests and taxes, after which citizens had to pass or pay before they could vote. This kept poor and illiterate citizens from voting. It especially affected the black community in the South in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The Act has provisions that have to be renewed by Congress. That way, Congress can change any wording as they see fit for that time period. The Voting Rights Act was renewed for five years in 1965 and 1970; for seven years in 1975; and for twenty-five years in 1982 and 2006.

Now it is 2031, Should they renew it again?


Choose Your Role
In groups of three you will each become a citizen of Capitol Hill. As a member of the staff of a United States’ Senator, you must persuade him to vote yes or no on the upcoming renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

 Select from the roles below. Each of you will read the materials provided and discuss your findings with the other two members of your group.

Chief of Staff
Senior Policy Advisor
Judiciary Committee Staff



Meet with your other group members and discuss your findings. Decide invidiually how you will advise your boss, the Senator, to vote. You do not have to agree with your groups members but make sure you have all the facts before making a decision. He can vote "Yes" to renew the Voting Rights Act or "No" America does not need a Voting Right's Act anymore.

Prepare a presentation to show him in his office using Microsoft PowerPoint. Use facts and arguments you found in your research.


  Exemplary (5) Satisfactory (3) Needs Improvement (1) Activity Score
Research Student read all the provided Web sites, he or she displayed an exemplary effort to get everything done Student did not put strong effort in to the assignment or they wandered slightly on the Internet Student wandered on other Web sites and did not finish reading the assigned sites  
Teamwork Student shared information with the group and it was clear he or she listened to other group members Student shared his or her findings but did not listen to any one else's Student worked primarily alone  
PowerPoint Student had a minimum of 4 slides that were appealing to the eye Student had 3 slides and some were appealing Student had 1-2 slides  
Presentation Student shared extra information, made eye contact with the audience, and did not read directly from his or her slides. Student read mostly from his or her slides but made eye contact with the audience Student read directly from his or her slides and made no contact with the audience  


PowerPoint Tips Chief of Staff Senior Policy Advisor Judiciary Committee Staff