Why I Vote with Kids in Tow


On May 2 in my community, we have a critical school levy on the ballot. The kids and I will wear our vote on our sleeves by sporting school colors on Election Day.

Of course, showing off the sweet faces of my school-aged kids to the voting public may be a shameless plug for a sympathy vote.

But I’d bring them even if that weren’t the issue at hand.

Yes, I bring my kids with me to the polls.


Would I rather vote alone? In some ways, yeah. It would be much easier to focus on the issues and candidates if I didn’t drag the kids into an old gym with nothing to do. But I want them to be a part of the process. I want to answer their questions about what we’re doing and reinforce the privilege it is to vote in this free country.

They’re 6 and 4, so my expectations of what they’re absorbing and processing about the experience are low. But they know that mom votes when there is an election and that someday they’ll get to participate in this important practice.

Voting with kids takes a little more advance planning. I find my ballot online, and then research and mark my choices before we venture to the polls. I tuck a hard copy in my purse because I know only a fraction of my focus will be available in the booth. I’ll be penciling in bubbles while responding to loud-whispered questions like:

Who are you voting for?
When do I get to vote?
Can we play hide and seek?
When do I get a sticker?

But with a little prep work, I’m ready for it.

I didn’t always vote in special elections without national players on the slate. In recent years, the increasing importance of state and local issues has gotten me there most times.

Voting has this powerful ability to both humble and empower. I’m reminded how I’m just one small person in the grand electorate, while I’m also energized by placing a vote and having it count. Voting is an individual freedom that makes a big difference because we do it together.

Our vote matters because the person next to us and the person next to them also choose to vote. Our votes may align or contrast, but they make a statement of what we wish our community, state and country to be.

Voting is a process that is full of hope and the opportunity for change. Whether you vote absentee, early in-person, or on election day, with or without kids, be sure to make a plan and make it happen.

The littlest ones without a vote are counting on us to exercise ours.

In Ohio, special elections occur in May and August in 2023. A quick search on your county’s Board of Elections website will tell you what to expect on your ballot and where to vote.


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