Tonight, 6 people and a baby sat around the dinner table – post-eating – with 6 mail-in ballots. We read through every initiative and proposition, through all the people running, through the given reading material and online pro/com lists from sources we trust – all in all, it was pretty exhausting. After confirming what yeses meant yes, which meant no, and which canceled each other out if X, Y, or Z, the 6 of us each filled out our ballots.
This was the first time my family officially went through a ballot as a group to fetter out what was being said and what was meant. We all have different backgrounds and different ways of understanding what each part will do or change – we are a 5/6 female household, are catholic (some more than others), and all have very different debts and incomes.
I felt that this was a great first time, however, next time we’d have to pick new readers who would read through the ballot book well before hand – we definitely had one or two who did not want to spend time with any fine print but who have less finesse and much louder voices. Another of our group felt that we needed a lot more fact and a lot less opinion floating around the table – she didn’t need to know all about someone else’s tax whatevers.
The point of this isn’t to tell you about my politics or to talk about how families may influence you – although they can. We all went through it all, finished and have our ballots ready to mail out tomorrow but we all voted our own way.
For us, this was simply economical. 6 ballots done, 6 in the mail. For others, weeks of studying and a silent room is the key. Yet another, it is taking the time out on November 8th to stand in line and walk into the poll booth.
As I have told my 6th, 7th, and 8th graders this year, I will always reserve my opinions on who you vote for or what you vote for – though it may determine how much time I choose to spend around you outside of school (this goes for family and friends!) – but it is you responsibility to get informed and vote. A good chunk of my 8th graders will be voting in the next presidential election so it is an important thing to get through to them.
So if you are eligible to vote this time around – and an astonishing, record breaking number of people have already registered and voted – get out there and rock the vote. If you don’t care enough to vote, I don’t want to hear you complain later.
- Taylor Gallagher
PS – to my international readers, sorry this post is pretty US-centric! It’s my life right now…