Don’t waste your right to vote

My mother, Mariyana Kircheva, who was born in Bulgaria, became a United States citizen. She spent several months preparing for the civics test, which she passed a few weeks ago. She took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on Oct. 16 and proudly held her Naturalization Certificate when she left the office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

She and the rest of the people that took the oath Oct. 16 beamed with happiness as they reached that milestone.

As I became a US citizen in 2014, I know the feeling of security, belonging and purpose that comes with earning the Naturalization Certificate.

Becoming a citizen is a years-long, multi-step process, requiring loads of documents and serious preparation.

One of the requirements is taking a test consisting of 100 questions, covering topics about US history and government.

The test was challenging for my mother, who never studied English formally. To pass the exam, she had to show she could read, write and speak basic English.

She has been in the country for nine years, spending time with people speaking English, but she never really studied the language and its grammar. With the process for naturalization going much faster than expected, she had to quickly learn to speak and write English well enough to understand the material for the exam. She worked on her vocabulary and spent several hours each day listening to English lessons to get used to the pronunciation, which – Southern dialect specifically – can be very challenging for someone coming from the world of Slavic languages.

Helping her to prepare and seeing these questions again reminded me of the duties and rights we have as American citizens.   

Below are some of the questions (with answers) comprising the test:

What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy? Voting and helping with a campaign.

What is one right only for US citizens? Voting in a federal election.

Who signs bills to become laws? The President.

Who vetoes bills? The President.

If the President can no longer serve, who becomes president? The Vice President.

The House of Representatives has how many voting members? 435

How many US Senators are there? 100

We elect US Senators for how many years? 6

Who does a US Senator represent? All people of the state.

As simple as these questions are, their answers provide the foundation on which the Unites States is based. These questions and answers reveal the essential functions of elected officials, who ultimately receive their power from the voters.

With the election underway, it’s important to know that US Senators, members of the House of Representatives and the President are elected by the people, work for the people and must answer to the people because they derive their authority from them.

Now that my mother is a citizen, one of the rights she obtained is the right to vote. As she worked hard to earn that right, she’s eager to exercise it. While she was disappointed that she missed the voter registration deadline for this election, she is looking forward to the next opportunity to cast a ballot.

Early voting for the November election continues through Oct. 29. Election Day is Nov. 3. Voters will elect the President and Vice President, US Senators, members of the House of Representatives, and Tennessee Senators and State Representatives.

My mother appreciates the freedoms and the rights that come with being a US citizen and she wants to be a voter because she understands that people who vote shape the future of this country.

Don’t waste your right to vote.

Questions for the test:

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

2. What does the Constitution do?

3.The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

4. What is an amendment?

5.What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

10. What is freedom of religion?

11. What is the economic system in the United States?

12. What is the “rule of law”?

13. Name one branch or part of the government.

14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

16. Who makes federal laws?

17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?

18. How many U.S. Senators are there?

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?*

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

23. Name your U.S. Representative.

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

26. We elect a President for how many years?

27. In what month do we vote for President?*

28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?

33. Who signs bills to become laws?

34. Who vetoes bills?

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

37. What does the judicial branch do?

38. What is the highest court in the United States?

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?

41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal


42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

43. Who is the Governor of your state now?

44. What is the capital of your state?

45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?

46. What is the political party of the President now?

47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?

50. Name one right only for United States citizens.

51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?

54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?

55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?

56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*

57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?

59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

66. When was the Constitution written?

67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?

70. Who was the first President?*

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?

76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.

79. Who was President during World War I?

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?

83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?

84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?

86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

91. Name one U.S. territory.

92. Name one state that borders Canada.

93. Name one state that borders Mexico.

94. What is the capital of the United States?

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?

96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?

98. What is the name of the national anthem?

99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

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