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Election Day and Kids: A Question

I have memories of going with my mom when I was a kid to the polling place on election day. Back then, the voting booth was an actual booth, with a curtain that closed. Mom would let me move one or two of the levers, and then pull the large handle that opened the curtain and sent her vote to be recorded. It made a nice KA-THUNK sound.

I am pondering bringing Muffin and Squeaker to the polls on Tuesday for their first presidential election. But I'm not sure if it is worth it, as they are only 3 years old and there's no voting booth. They'll get to see Mommy and Daddy fill out bubble sheets and feed them into a scanner. (Perhaps they could do the feeding.) Any thoughts on whether or not it's worth bringing them to the polls? Will they remember this election years from now? Or is it not worth the bother?

Comments

I ALWAYS took Anna with me. By the third election, she was being greeted and welcomed by the poll workers, which made the process even more rewarding.
I always take Talis with me; if I don;t she gets mad at me. And at least in my polling place, we have what I think of as carrells on stilts, and you fill in the ballots in semi-privacy. I am always curious to see what number ballot I am when it goes thru the ballot box.

If you start now, they'll remember going to vote with you from the time they were very small.
We're taking Rosie. Last time the poll workers gave her a sticker. Then we went out for ice cream to celebrate Election Day.
Take them with. There may be no big lever to pull, but they can watch you feed the paper ballot into the machine and see the number go up by one.
We can remember because we had off from school on election day. It's tough to take school-age kids with you to vote if you go on the way to or from work. Do it while you have the chance.
Here in NC, the children get their own ballots and an "I Voted" sticker!
Dangerboy went to his first election for the town in April 2010, and hasn't missed one since. He gets excited about it, the poll workers know him, we talk a little about what we're voting for and what happens, he does get to help feed the ballot into the scanner. He also demands to know why toddlers and kids can't vote.

Kids can get weird ideas about voting, of course. His older cousin was almost three for her first presidential election, and became very upset at the polling place because she had become convinced that Joe Biden would be there personally, and he was not.
While I don't know if they would remember this election if it was a one time thing, I do think if you make it a regular routine/ritual to take them to elections they *will* remember that - I do.
I have the same memory of going into the booth with my mother. I don't think I ever got to vote in the same kind of booth.

In NJ we have a different kind of machine. Rachel took the kids with her a couple of time, and at least once one of the kids pressed the big red button to cast the ballot before she was done. It doesn't sound like that's a risk with the scanner sheets, so I would say yes, it does sound worth it.

I heard of a study once that found that the most important determinant of whether kids grow up to be readers is not whether their parents read to them, but whether they see their parents reading. I don't think it's much of a stretch to extrapolate that to voting.
Yeah, take them!

How far is your polling place? How long is the line? Can you talk about the voting process while you wait?
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July 2014

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