Make Voting a Family Tradition
As an African-American woman and a military brat, the drive to vote is almost visceral. So many have fought so hard to ensure that I have the right to stand up and raise my voice in the electoral process, and I would be damned if I would let my voice go unheard. More than two decades later, that drive is stronger than ever.
In 1992, I had just entered college, but now I am a mother of three (and a half), and I want my boys to have the same amount of pride to fulfill their civic responsibility. My oldest had just turned one when his father and I took him with us to vote. That was his first election. We walked to the polls late in the evening after work. As he has gotten older, we have talked about the importance of voting and how elected officials make decisions that affect our daily lives. We talk about the issues, and he has had the opportunity to meet candidates. We talk about where the candidates stand on the policies that affect our family.
My twin's first voting experience was in utero when I cast my vote in the election that elected the first African American president. My ever growing bump had an "I voted" sticker.
With three young boys, it is not always easy to get to the polls. They are active and there are THREE! But my husband and I recognize how important it is for our kids to see us voting; to see us making time in our schedules of work, sports and play to cast our votes. We don't always get to vote together these days, but our boys have always gone with one of us to the polling place.
This year's election is no different. Our family will be going to the polls in this mid-term election to make sure that our voices are heard. My oldest is asking even more questions about some of the issues that have been discussed this year, while my youngest two can tell you the names of the candidates who are running for office. Whether I have a newborn or am still pregnant and waddling to the polls you can expect that our family will be casting our votes on November 4.
And in case you'd like to go ahead and have voting checked off of your to-do list, there is the opportunity to cast your vote early!
Kids Voting Durham and NC MomsRising with Jack and Jill, LangoKids, Mocha Moms, and other family groups are joining forces to help make voting a family affair. We'll kick off the first weekend of early voting with a special voting-related party with voting for kids, snacks, stories about voting, and democracy-inspired activities and crafts at the Durham Main Library. Bring your wagons and strollers to decorate. Patriotic dress or costumes welcome!
Children and adults will make instruments, voting banners, and flags, then we will parade through downtown to early voting location at 201 N. Roxboro St. where parents can cast their vote. The event is nonpartisan.
Follow along on Twitter with #WeVote and share photos of your family voting! If you are unable to attend, we still hope to see pictures of your family voting traditions, new and old!
Here are the details:
When: Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m. – noon
Where: Durham Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., Durham with a parade to the Durham Board of Elections, 201 N. Roxboro St.
Questions? Contact Beth Messersmith, MomsRising, 919-323-6179 or email@example.com or Carolyn Kreuger, Kids Voting, 919-560-7321 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Not in Durham? No problem!
You can create your own voting traditions with your family and friends. Check out Kids Voting North Carolina and Kids Voting Durham for book suggestions, craft ideas, fun websites, and more.
NC MomsRising has also pulled together some resources to help answer your voting questions:
If you aren't sure of your voter information, you can look it up on the North Carolina Board of Elections website.
• You can also visit the NC Election Connection, sponsored by Democracy North Carolina, to get all your voting questions answered.
• And to learn more about the candidates on the ballot you can find a nonpartisan voter guide here. http://www.ncvoterguide.org/
• Follow along and add your own voting tradition pictures on Twitter at #WeVote
Have fun creating your own voting traditions!
Tina Sherman is a NC MomsRising member and mother of three (and a half)!