We’re getting hammered with phone calls playing automated messages, tired of door-knockin’ campaigners, and are DVRing our shows to fast forward through political commercials. Despite all this, I find the opportunity to vote to be absolutely exhilarating. My son has started to catch the fever too.
The first time he tagged along to a polling location, he told me that the barrier blocking fellow voters from seeing my ballot was "really there so people don’t cheat.” That still cracks me up.
I find my son’s love of our country’s presidential legacy endearing. So when he began asking questions about the voting process, I wanted to find a way for us to hold a mock election.
I made a political party die and explained to him that the donkey is a sign of the Democratic Party and the elephant is a symbol of the Republican Party.
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Then we read a great piece of children’s literature by Eileen Christelow. Vote! Is a wonderful account of two candidates running for mayor and the voting process. My son was surprised to read that not everyone was allowed to vote until the constitution was amended. (We especially loved the commentary by the book’s two dogs.)
When we were done with the book. I told my son to roll the die and fill in a box, representing one vote, for each roll. When one column was full, the polls closed.
My son loved this neck-and-neck political race. When done, he counted the votes for each party. I told him that the losing party questioned the accuracy of his math; a recount was in order!
It was one tight race and a seriously fun beginner’s lesson in the election process.
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