I am a proud American voter. My birthday is November 8, and I remember being crushed in 1996 when my 18th birthday fell several days AFTER the presidential election. However, as soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote and have taken part in many elections since. I am proud to vote and consider it my right as a citizen of this country. Plus, being female, I am always excited to have my voice heard. It’s only been 100 years since women received suffrage, and I don’t ever take it for granted.
I want my son to be excited about his right to vote, too! And your kids! And all the kids in our whole country!
In order to be excited about voting, kids need to be informed and educated about the process of voting and understand that their voice and vote are important as citizens of this beautiful country. Here are some ideas to help explain this process and pass along some of the excitement about their civic duty.
Explain that we must first register to vote. Here is Colorado’s site to register. If we ever move to a different state, we have to register there before we can participate in an election. With this free printable, you can register everyone in your home to vote!
Understanding the Issues
This step is a big part of our responsibility to vote. We cannot vote if we don’t understand what or who we are voting for. Do your homework. Read up on the issues that our local area, city, country and state have on the ballot. Read about the people who are up for seats in our government. Vote with your values and not about who or what is most popular.
If you have middle school or high school kids, discuss some of the issues on the ballot with them. Ask them what they think and how they would vote. Registered voters are mailed a “blue book” that explains all of the ballot issues we will be voting on. If there is a topic your child is particularly interested in, read about it in the blue book with them and use it as a way to think through together.
Filling Out the Ballot
In Colorado, we vote 100% by mail-in ballots. I personally enjoy this because I can vote in the comfort of my own home at my own pace, and this year’s ballot is a long one! Show your kids what a ballot looks like and explain how to fill it out.
If you have littles, hold your own election in the house! Maybe you can vote on what to eat for dinner, which movie to watch on the upcoming Friday night or what pizza toppings you’d like to see on your next pie. This free printable ballot is easy to use or create your own.
Secure ballot boxes are critical for fair elections. After all, where can we put the ballots to keep them safe from someone changing who and what we voted for? Make your own ballot box out of an old shoe box or tissue box. Preschoolers and younger elementary kids will especially enjoy this fun way to vote.
After everyone in your home has cast a ballot, be sure to count the votes and see what movie or pizza topping won!
If you drop off your ballot at a secure drop box, make it a family affair. Seeing you take pride in your vote will stick with your kids when they turn 18 and beyond.
Additional resources and ideas to keep the conversation going in your house:
- Books about voting for all ages.
- A short video about Susan B. Anthony
- See patriotic craft ideas here.
- Throw an election day party! Fly the Stars and Stripes, make red, white and blue cookies and sing the Star Spangled Banner.