Voting With Children on Election Day
Election Day is Tuesday here in the United States. Remember to go and vote!
I have always taken my children to the polling place with me – mostly out of necessity. This year, my husband is traveling with work and I will again be taking my children to the polls to vote. Voting with children is an experience in itself! Standing in a long line with a screaming child can be very, very stressful. If you‘ll be taking your children to the polls, try to keep the experience as short and sweet as possible.
For example, you can go online before hand and see a sample ballot. Decide BEFORE you get there how you are going to vote. It‘s hard to stand there trying to keep your infant or toddler happy while you are making a decision.
When you get there, be aware that some polling places may not let your children into the booth with you. I‘ve lived in various places around the United States and I‘ve found that some polling workers were adamant that my children could NOT go into the voting booth along with me; others didn‘t care but did caution me about letting my infant touch the buttons! If your infant or toddler accidentally touches the VOTE button on the electronic machine for example, you‘ve cast your vote and there‘s nothing you can do about that! You don‘t get a second chance to fix it!
It‘s best to try to choose a time when you believe that most people will not be voting. This time should also not conflict with your young child‘s nap time! I like to go as early as possible in the day because I find that the lines are usually shorter. As the day progresses, the lines tend to be longer and children tend to get crankier. Usually, I go to the polls after I get my children up for the day. If you have the option to do so, you may also wish to wait until you can find someone to watch your baby so you can vote.
Perhaps you don‘t have child care options and you can‘t choose the time of day when you go to the polls. In that case, remember to be prepared for a long wait. It‘s important to bring along extra bottles, or make sure to nurse the baby before you go to vote. Remember to pack toys and other items to amuse your younger ones in case you have to stand in line.
I‘ve found that many places have treats for young children who are out with their parents and this is nice! Many times, the poll workers have stickers and they make a special effort to amuse the younger ones in the crowd. I appreciate that so much! In our area, children have off from school on Election Day, so there are many children standing in line along with their parents.
This Election Day will be a first for me as my son will be getting his immunizations! I‘m hoping to be able to vote BEFORE we make the trip to the doctor. I can’t imagine standing in line with my son and his 4 sisters AFTER he’s gotten his shots, although I will do it if I must.
I wish you and your family a safe and stress free Election Day!