Getting kids involved without polling places: I voted!
I remember going with my mom to the polling place when I was a kid; there was one right at the end of our block, at 25th and Madison, so watching the people stream by all day was so exciting. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to vote. Now my six-year-old is just like me: only there's no polling place. My husband and I voted after bedtime on Friday and the only evidence was our sealed, signed ballots on the table the next morning, whisked away by my parents to drop off at the elections office.
So, how can we invest our children with the excitement of civic involvement in our vote-by-mail state? Here are a couple of things we've done (and plan to do):
- Electoral maps. There will be electoral maps to color at Backspace for the election party tonight; and last night Everett insisted I fill in every state as blue (he's loyal, that kid) on the New York Times electoral map, a fun interactive map that lets you run different scenarios while you wait.
- Mock election. Asha at ParentHacks has a fun idea with imaginary candidates who espouse candy policies and bedtimes.
- Get your freebies. Though election law now says they can't ask if you voted (nothing of value can be exchanged to induce someone to vote, or to refrain from voting), Starbucks is giving away a free tall coffee in honor of voting, Ben & Jerry is giving away free scoops from 5 to 8 p.m., and Dunkin' Donuts is giving away star-shaped pastries.
- Campaign with every last second. Moms Rising has several "get out the mom vote" campaigns, like offering to be backup childcare for friends who want to vote, and making last-minute calls to remind moms to vote. Maybe the best way to adapt this to Oregon is to offer to drop off ballots for your friends who haven't yet voted, or to stage a "voting playdate" where you bring your ballots, vote, and hand them over to one mama to hand-deliver to a ballot drop-off location.
How will you get your kids enthused about your civic involvement today?