Father-Daughter Voting

It pleases me immensely that today I took Athena to the local board of elections office so that she could vote in her very first election ever. She was a couple of months too young to vote in 2016, so this was the first time she could do it. We both voted early because on election day, we’ll both be somewhere else: Athena will be at school, and I’ll be in France. Better to take care of it now and have it done than miss it, especially this election year.

I’m super proud of my daughter that she registered to vote and cast her ballot. Any one who follows elections will tell you that young people vote the least of any age demographic, a fact which I find weird, since they are the ones who will have to live the longest with the results of each election. I voted the very first time it was possible to do so (1988), and so it makes me happy that Athena has now done the same. It’s a tradition worth keeping up. Please encourage the young people you know and love to vote as well. It matters.

43 Comments on “Father-Daughter Voting”

  1. Thank you, Athena. And John. I’ll vote in a bit, got to read up on the CA propositions.
    We’re all in this together, so thanks!

  2. Most good. Mine were all far away on their first times so we missed the opportunity. (OK, so was I — and besides my parents would have been upset that I voted against Nixon.)

    The closest $DAUGHTER and I got was donating blood in tandem on her 16th birthday.

  3. I’ve never understood young peoples apathy towards voting, especially these days when we can see what happens when people don’t vote.
    I understand there are times when you can’t get to a polling place for various reasons, I don’t get not even wanting to try.

  4. My parents took me to register to vote on my 18th birthday. I did the same for my son. Message was loud and clear.

  5. All of my kids voted as soon as they were legally able to do so, and urge their friends (with only moderate success) to do so as well.

    I vote absentee, so that I can get the ballot in as soon as possible. Life is uncertain….

  6. John, a couple of my elections were different. My mother was unable to go vote on her own, but she’d been doing it for most of the 20th Century and wouldn’t be denied because of her physical ailments. I took her to the poll, cast my own vote, and the poll workers there did everything they could to make sure she could cast her vote, whether I was in the poll with her, or had them come out to the car to take her vote.

    In her last couple of years she got to vote the way she wished. I Hope Athena and you will have that same relationship. For me, helping my mother do one of the few things she felt was a duty … there is no way to describe it. She set in my mind that voting IS important, so important that she’d sit in a car for her last election waiting for the poll workers to come to her with a tablet to vote on.
    Here’s the thing, the poll workers were more than happy to help. And I can say after a few decades, the same ones keep showing up here. And the last few years a new generation has popped up.

    When the time comes, I know Athena will be there to get you to the poll, and if push comes to shove will get you the help my mother got.

    Despite politics as a general rule, going to vote with my mother, stand in line, or wait for a poll worker to come to the car, there is nothing I’d trade in the way of voting.

  7. I am happy that I can take a card (that was sent to me per post) and go voting the day of the election shortly before the election closes and don’t have to think about it any further. This is way to complicated in the USA.

  8. Glad to hear it. I’ve been registered to vote since my 18th birthday (a history teacher at my HS found out it was my birthday and put a registration card on my desk. I filled it out and he turned it in that day after school). I vote, every election. It’s part of my “job”, as I see it.

  9. I was very happy to vote for the first time the year I turned 18. Every election since I’ve been at my polling place casting my votes. It’s one of the most important things a citizen can do. No matter your affiliation or opinions, everyone’s voice is important. Welcome to the process new fellow voter.

  10. I voted for the first time in the 1972 presidential election at the age of 18, and may have missed just one or two minor elections since then. As a resident of the same area as you, John, up in Sidney, I am often in the minority as a Democrat in Republican-dominated west-central Ohio. That won’t stop me from voting, though. Great experience to share with your daughter.

  11. Good for her! I tell my students to do that every election. They don’t take nearly enough responsibility for running the country.

    BTW, “I Ohio voting?” That sounds vaguely nasty.

  12. I’ve voted in every election since I was old enough. I always felt like part of the problem is that kids spend most of their childhood being told they’re too young to make decisions or understand things, so they learn to ignore this stuff, then by the time they’re old enough to vote, they’re used to not participating.

    I think they should have mock elections in schools from a very early age, and kids should be encouraged to learn about how to make informed decisions about voting, so they can feel comfortable with it by the time they’re adults. School should be teaching kids to apply critical thinking and research skills to many things in life, and voting is a prime example. We teach kids about the mechanics of our government, but we fail at teaching them how to participate for the most part. I did learn how to write a letter to my representative in 6th grade, so there are bright spots, but I don’t know how common that is.

    I spoke to a gaming friend yesterday who’s in college in NY and basically hadn’t given any real thought to voting in the election. I found him a link to where he can register online to vote, he responded that he didn’t have a state driver’s license, then I gave him a link to the information on how he can register without one. He said he’d have to mail something, and apparently he’s not sure he’s ever mailed anything before. I doubt he’ll actually vote, but I hope the seed I planted might get him to think about it.

  13. One of the reasons I love living in Washington State is the mail voting. Everyone gets the ballot in the mail, so you can take your time to research what the options are. Then, you just drop it in the mail (postage is now paid, so it’s free!). Our number of people who actually vote is skyrocketing! :)

  14. I was eighteen in 1973, when I got to watch Nixon resign, and I haven’t missed an election since. The Vietnam war and the unrest between populace and government was very motivating for young people to vote. At least back then. Now, I just don’t get it why they don’t vote.

  15. We took our youngsters with us to the polling place every Election Day as they were growing up, talked about the process and the importance, and generally made it clear that it is a Very Big Deal to be able to participate. And they have both voted in every single election since they each reached voting age – fifteen years ago for one and seventeen years ago for the other.

    Whatever failings we may have as parents (and I know there are many), I am very proud of the fact that we raised a pair of active voters who take the time to investigate issues, candidates, propositions and initiatives before making their decisions.

  16. I’ve voted every time since 1972. (I was 20–the 26th amendment, lowering the voting age, was ratified the year before).

    Oregon was the first entirely vote-by-mail (this year marks the 20th anniversary of that), which makes it very easy to vote. We usually just drop the ballots in the ballot box at our local (within walking distance) library branch. We should get our ballots in in the mail in about 10 days, and we always try to return them ASAP, since it cuts down on the junk calls. (Whether you’ve voted or not is public record. and the political organizations aren’t going to bother people who have already voted.)

    My mother is 87 and makes sure to vote in every election. She could put it in the mail, but she likes the security of dropping her ballot in a ballot box, so we’ve often driven her to the closest drop-box location.

  17. In Kansas, early voting starts on the 17th. You can mail your vote, but you have to apply for a mail-in ballot.

  18. I usually go to the election commissioner’s office for early voting. I miss out on the sticker, but don’t have to worry about last-minute overtime making it too hard to get to the polling station on Election Day.

    My aunt and uncle get mail ballots, but Nebraska doesn’t have free postage for those so I drive them over to a dropbox location.

  19. Early voting starts here on Monday. I’m off that day and really should get my rear to the courthouse to get that done, since I’ll be out of state on the day itself. (And luckily visiting my mom, so we can support each other depending on how things go!) My first election was a midterm a few months after my 18th. I admit I’ve missed some here and there, but since two years ago, I haven’t missed a one, even a tiny local one.

  20. That’s awesome! My friends and I got to escort my girlfriend to the polls on her 18th birthday. When she was walking out of the booth we sang her happy birthday.

  21. As a few commenters above, I was in the first generation to vote at 18 – very important to us since we could be drafted but could not vote previously! But i confess there were a few years i didn’t vote. As a recent adult in Ohio after Kent State, it was hard to believe any politician cared what we wanted or thought. I became more responsible after i had a child. This year I registered to vote by mail, and then messed up my knée so it would be a challenge to get to the ballot box. So I feel quite clever in hindsight. In the last local election , my son and I voted together. I also have a memorable photo of us in our stickers.

  22. I took my kids to vote with me. One year, while still in high school, one of them grabbed a pile of “I Voted!” stickers and plastered them on his coat. When he walked in to school, one of the teachers said “You didn’t vote!” His instant reply was “This close to Chicago, I’m sure I did…”

  23. Voting and Jury Duty are the two activities that really are the personal part of what is required for having a representative government like we do. They are the things we can’t pay others to do. Social responsibility at the most basic level.

    I think of I voted stickers as participation awards that really mean a true part of society. Unlike some, I think participation in society is what makes society possible. So as a fellow voter thanks to both of you.

  24. As a geezer, you whippersnappers might not know this, but I couldn’t vote against Nixon in 1968 because they hadn’t yet lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and I was only 19. Those of us on Social Security and Medicare and past our childbearing years have a LOT less to lose than millennials, who vote at an appallingly low rate compared with their elders. I’m afraid that unless they let them vote on Twitter or Instagram, it just ain’t going to happen. (I hope I’m wrong this year.)

    Also, New York sucks in still having NO early voting.

    And keep off my bleepin’ lawn!

  25. Congratulations to Athena, not only has she voted for the first time but one day she will be able tell her kids that she voted in the historic blue wave of 2018!

  26. My father started taking me to the polls with him when I was about 8. We voted on punch cards in those days, and the polling place had a sample voting station with a made-up ballot of historical figures and clearly-marked invalid cards that voters could practice on if they were uncomfortable with the punch mechanism. I would play with this and take the resulting card in to school for show-and-tell.

    And I was 11 when my mother took me with her to work for a presidential candidate.

    Naturally I voted at my first opportunity and have done so every time since.

  27. Tomorrow both my daughter and eldest son will vote for the first time.
    Here vote is mandatory, but I was very happy to see that both took the duty seriously, they looked into lists and programs to make sure to cast a meaningful vote.
    It was also their first opportunity to be « courted » as voters, and that also was educational to them, giving them opportunity to challenge the message and investigate true meaning behind slogans.

  28. Considering that over half the people who can vote don’t, I’d say, based on the previous comments, that either the people here represent only the voting segment, or the non-voters are intimidated and afraid to air their invalid positions.

  29. There have been decades of propaganda selling the notion that government—that is, the greatest power available to people who aren’t rich—were at best useless and most frequently evil*. The message ‘Donʼt vote, it only encourages Them.’ is simple corollary.

    …but not voting also encourages Them—and the worst of them at that.

    *To the extent that this message’s backers think it wrong to interfere with ‘property rights’, that is their God/Market/{racehorse genes}-given rights (e.g.) to pollute, to sexually prey, to commit fraud, to create leonine contracts,to sexually or racially or religiously discriminate, to loot their State-created protective artificial persons, &c…they are sincere. I think sincerity is somewhat over-valued.

  30. I don’t know who said this first, but I posted it on my facebook page today –

    If you vote, you may not get the government you deserve, but if you don’t vote, you get *exactly* the government you deserve.

  31. Hey John – back from a few days in Rome on time to vote tomorrow morning, and catching up on your twitter feed… it seems Belgium is not that far from you voting paradise.
    All citizens above 18 are automatically registered to vote (with some very specific exclusions or déchéance), & we vote on a Sunday.
    Even better: a few weeks before Election Day, each voter receives his voting card through the mail, indicating place of vote. If unavailable to vote, there is a process to allow someone to vote in your stead. Other EU citizens can vote in local elections if they are permanent residents and register.
    You may not so much like: vote is mandatory, failure to vote is punishable by a fine. (Vote is a civic duty.)
    Not sure what you meant by the possibility to vote for « none of the above » – that is basically what any blank or invalid vote is.

    Speaking of invalid votes – electronic vote indeed has a transparency or « paper trail » issue, but paper ballot is not exempt of that risk. My father was assessor in election in my home town, and once witnessed one of the other assessors invalidating ballots he did not like. The man had a small chunk of red pencil core, like those used for vote, and would mark ballots outside of the valid space. He was quite quickly caught. Not sure how he thought he could get away with this: why would a specific precinct have higher ratio of invalid votes? Of course this is small scale stuff, but just to show that even physical paper does not guarantee your vote will count. Without falling prey to paranoia, that is why it is also important to participate in manning voting stations and counting stations.

  32. I generally vote, but the 2 major parties here in England are both in trash fire mode.

    The last local election here I unfortunately missed, but I was pleased that the 2 “male, pale and stale” candidates from the major parties were rejected and we got a young female local councillor. I don’t have much confidence in the arty she represents, but it seems to be the least worst choice at the moment.

  33. I feel an obligation to vote, but have a hard time finding reliable data to inform my choices. The available information about most candidates and issues is the real fake news. One thing is for sure though, the young voters need to hit the polls hard and get the boomers out. We have completely wrecked the place.

  34. beilad – and anyone else feeling daunted by ballot research (I get it – we have over *94* positions to vote on in my city! So. many. judges.) the League of Women Voters is super helpful. Check out this page: https://www.vote411.org/

    It helps with registration, ballots, and so on. For my jurisdiction, it’s even possible to generate a ballot to print out or take with me on my phone.

  35. Once in a while it pays to remember the words of past masters –

    “If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.”

    ‘Lazarus Long’ aka Robert Heinlein

  36. [Judge Magney, either you were intending to be an asshole when you asked your question, or your people skills are highly questionable. Either way, I deleted your post. Be less of a dickhead from here on out, please – JS]