Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

MomsRising: Voting with the kids

Posted May 1, 2012

I still remember going to vote with my mom as a child. She always made it into a celebration!

Where I grew up, we used giant voting machine booths that you stepped in and pulled a lever to close the curtain behind you. She would lift me up to flip the switches to mark her votes then my brother would pull the lever again to cast her vote and open the curtain. When you stepped out, you emerged as…a voter! Afterwards, we’d go out for a treat to celebrate.

Thanks to my Mom and Dad, today I’m a full-fledged voting junkie. I look forward to Election Day like others look forward to Halloween. I love it. Taking my kids with me to vote has become a tradition around our house, too. And now, thanks to early voting, that’s even easier.

Early voting is perfect for busy parents’ schedules-allowing us to vote when it works in our lives and avoid potentially long lines, rain, fussy kids, or other issues come Election Day. Both weekday and weekend early-voting options are available. It’s great for taking your kids with you to experience voting!

Early voting is now open in all 100 NC counties. Beginning April 19 and running through May 5, you can go to an early voting site in your community to cast your vote for the May 8 election. If you haven’t already registered, you can register and vote at the same time during the early voting period at any one-stop voting site in your county. To find your early voting site, click here.

It’s very important that parents and all those who care about children and family issues go out to vote in the May 8 election. In addition to the primaries for president and some members of Congress, North Carolinians will be voting on candidates for state and local offices like school board or county commissioner where many decisions affecting NC families are made. In some of these races, those chosen in the May 8 election will automatically win the final election. A constitutional amendment is also on the ballot.

NC MomsRising has pulled together a few resources to answer all your voting questions.

  • To check your voter registration, click here.
  • To locate your early voting site, click here.
  • To find your polling place for May 8, click here.
  • To preview your ballot and get all your other voting questions answered, visit
  • If you experience any voting problems or have additional questions, you can call a toll-free hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or 888-OUR-VOTE, a resource operated by UNC School of Law, the voting-rights group Democracy NC, and the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Law.

Worried you don’t know enough about the candidates for office? Check out the following nonpartisan voter guides.

  • Prepared by the NC Center for Voter Education, this nonpartisan voter guide provides information all the way down to candidates running for local races.
  • Prepared by Action for Children NC, “Who’s for Kids and Who’s Just Kidding”, is a non-partisan guide for voters on child well-being in N.C. and sample questions to ask of political candidates.

And, if you live in Durham, we hope you’ll bring the kids and join us as we celebrate the power of voting with an early voting party for kids!

What: NC MomsRising and Kids Voting Durham are throwing a party for kid and families to celebrate voting! We’ll have a place for kids to cast their own votes, a voting-related story time, crafts, snacks, and more.

When: Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with story time beginning at 10:30 a.m.

This is the LAST day of early voting. Early voting sites will be open around Durham from 8-1 that day. If you haven’t already voted, it would be a great chance for you to take your children with you to vote and then join us to celebrate!

Proof of voting is NOT required to join us, but we do hope that you’ll make sure you cast your vote in this important election. Moms’ voices matter!

Where: The Durham Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro Street, Durham. Kids Voting will be hosting elections in the main lobby and story time and activities will take place in the children’s room.

RSVP: Let us know if you can join us by e-mailing

Invite your friends! Let’s make it a real party. Make sure to invite your friends to go vote and join us afterwards to celebrate. The more the merrier.

Like so many thing in life, kids will do what they see their parents do. Let’s take our kids to vote and show them it’s something worth celebrating!

Beth Messersmith is the NC Campaign Director for and a Durham mother of two.


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  • unipride May 2, 2012

    I voted today and let my 2.5 year old put the ballot in the machine :)
    I remember those old style machines though!

  • khoggard May 2, 2012

    I use to go vote with my parents too, voting just as you described with the levers & curtain. I, too, always make sure that I vote. I think I have only missed one election since turning 18. I now take my son with me to vote. He is 10 & loves to put the marked ballot into the machine. I am also a Civics teacher & encourage my students, who will be at the voting age in a couple of years, to go vote with their parents if they don't already. I even offer them extra credit if they can prove they went to vote with a sticker or sample ballot. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Nicole Rose May 2, 2012


  • sarah234 May 1, 2012

    Wow, Beth, my parents always took us to vote too. And I have carried on those traditions with my kiddos. Not sure it rises to the level of excitement of Halloween, but we put a tremendous emphasis on it in our household. Glad to have others that grew up the same way carrying on the same family traditions around voting. Bravo!