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One Week to Election Day

One week from today, the twins and I will walk down to our local polling place and cast our vote for Hillary Clinton. The twins have been voting every election since they were three months old. Back then, it was finger to the touch screen, which was a little easier for group participation. This year, we’re each taking a third of that Tic-Tac-sized bubble and filling it in for Hillary. We’ve been practicing. We’re ready. Onward!


Image: Ally Aubry via Flickr via Creative Commons license

I considered going to an early polling place, but I really love the kids to feel the energy of election day. I like to treat the whole day as a holiday, celebrating voting, making a special meal, and then piling into our bed to watch the voting results roll in.

I don’t want them to treat voting like the act of turning in the ballot is the end point.  I want them to see the action through until the results are in, and even then to look ahead as how they can either support or counterbalance their newly elected officials.

I don’t want them to go to the polls and barely register the qualifications of the candidate, just voting down the party line.  I don’t want them to walk away from the polling booth assuming their job is done, and they only needs to glance at the newspaper the next day to see who won.  And I don’t want them to get frustrated when the results don’t go according to plan.  I want them to take a long hard look at what they can do differently next time as well as ways they can make life more enjoyable between turns.

I have invested a lot of energy in having them fully involved in each election, making sure that they understand there are many other elected officials beyond the president, and they need to pay attention to each one.

So we will be at the polling place next week, and I hope you are, too.  We’ll be eating homemade pizza for dinner, and staying up late to watch the first female president win the election.  We’ll be seeing this damn thing through to the end, and then looking beyond because the work of keeping our local community as well as nation running isn’t just important every two or four years.  It’s important every single day.  Remember that.


1 Beth { 11.01.16 at 9:01 am }

Yes! To all of this. My girls and I (and my husband who is fortunate to have the day off as well) will be voting together for Hillary. We will watch as she wins, but probably on our DVR as they are little and go to bed early. I’ll be watching live of course. This is going to be a happy day of celebration to cap off this awful, nasty election. And we’re making pizzas too! Cheers!

2 andy { 11.01.16 at 10:10 am }

Interesting, I don’t think you can take kids with you in the booth to vote in Canada, but I may be wrong. A quick Google search found the US rules (yes you can, and they can mark the ballot for you) and British rules (yes you can, but the CAN’T mark the ballot for you) but I can’t find anything for Canada. I would guess that we likely follow the same rules as Britain…

3 Sharon { 11.01.16 at 10:38 am }

I early vote. I have talked with my 4-year-old twins about the election for the first time this cycle but I don’t see myself taking them to the polling place with me at this point. Lines here can be very long (think hours), and they aren’t good at waiting in line.

I think it’s great that you do it with your kids, though.

4 Ana { 11.01.16 at 4:27 pm }

We will all go together. There’s no early voting here, or I would’ve voted because I have to be at work super early (and perhaps stay super late) that day. We will go right when the polls open I think.

5 a { 11.01.16 at 5:27 pm }

I voted yesterday. I try not to talk about the election too much, because my husband gets all ranty about things. So, my daughter asks questions and I answer them, and I hope that she follows my example instead of her father’s (I don’t think he’s ever voted).

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.01.16 at 9:24 pm }

We’ve enjoyed watching news shows about the election as a family this season. I’m pleased my kids (well, one of them) is so interested in the election. And you’re right. While elections are the end of one thing, they are also the beginning of another.

7 Alexicographer { 11.01.16 at 11:01 pm }

I voted basically as soon as I could — not literally the first minute, but the first morning. And while there was zero risk of me changing my mind on, well, anything (OK, not strictly true I suppose, but close), I realized reading/hearing the news has been causing me stress and I stopped. Admittedly only for today, so far, but it feels nice to know that I can tune it out. The election will come, the races will be decided, I care deeply about the outcomes but I cannot control them, at least not by listening to the news (I did go yesterday and volunteer via the NAACP website to drive people to the polls, we’ll see if I get contacted — not so far), and, unlike those 2WWs, I don’t have to obsess about what it means that I feel vaguely nauseous. I haven’t (yet) decided what to do about watching the results, either for myself or my DS … will certainly respect his interest in doing so if expressed, but not sure how late I’ll let him stay up. I’ll probably be guided there somewhat by his opinion, as, like many of us, his sense (I think) is that there’s a lot at stake. My DH hasn’t voted (yet) so may take DS with him if he waits until election day.

8 Brid { 11.02.16 at 10:15 am }

I’ve always taken my son into the booth and never had an issue (Andy, we’re in Canada, too). I would imagine there would be some sort of conflict about making voting too difficult if you couldn’t. I’ve never even questioned it… If you want to raise a voter, take them with you! I’m with Mel; I want him to feel the weight of election day… He always asks me why I still get choked up, when we’ve done it so many times!

9 JustHeather { 11.02.16 at 3:54 pm }

Oregon is a mail-in-ballot only voter state. But, I go even farther and do it overseas. Hehe. I mailed my ballot weeks ago! I’ve not been a very good dual citizen, as I’ve never voted here in Finland. I know I should, but I truly don’t like politics, nor do I want to follow them. Bleh.

10 em { 11.02.16 at 8:59 pm }

I’ve voted already. Today in fact. I decided early voting was the way to go this year for me.

11 Mali { 11.02.16 at 10:48 pm }

I really love that you do this with your twins. It is so important, even if the situation in the US doesn’t always make it easy for everyone to vote. (I can’t imagine having to queue to vote, for example!)

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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