Three steps to involve your child in the local voting process

As local elections approach, you may have wondered how to get your child more involved in the voting process. Even if they can’t vote yet, they can always take this opportunity to learn more about the civic systems around them!

1. Discuss ways to pray for those in authority.

Your child may need a reminder that in the time of first century Christianity, not everyone enjoyed the ability to elect their governmental authorities (which remains true in different parts of the world today!). Nevertheless, as Christians we are still encouraged to pray for them.

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “…I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (ESV)

One simple way to do this is to list their names as part of a family prayer list. Go to https://www.usa.gov/local-governments to learn more, as well as browse by categories such as state governments and state, county, and municipal courts.

2. Explore the candidates’ platforms and stated values.

Check your local news outlets, the candidates’ websites, and other sources depending on the age and interest of your children. 

For example, high-school students may enjoy browsing Ballotpedia, a nonprofit with a goal to deliver “unbiased information to educate and inspire American voters.”

As you compare candidates and discuss their positions and policy issues, ask your children to consider opposing viewpoints and why they would choose one over another. Explain how people and special interests may be pressuring them to vote a certain way once they are old enough. They need to be able to make their own decisions based on their values after weighing all of the options.

3. Plan a time to discuss the election results.

Your family may or may not choose to stay up to watch the live election coverage, and that’s perfectly fine! Local races tend to receive less fanfare than national ones, so it may take a little time to collect and publish all the results. 

Look for a weekend or time when your family is relaxed and ready to go over what happened. Which candidates won, and by what margins? If new candidates have been appointed to previous positions, you can update your family prayer list accordingly. 

Depending on your level of involvement with a particular campaign, you could describe what you saw as the strengths and weaknesses of each race. You could even pretend to be a candidate’s political consultant and suggest recommended changes for next time!