The minimum voting age in the United States is 18. However, this doesn’t mean that kids shouldn’t learn a little bit about how the voting process works. Children need to learn why voting is important and how to vote when they are old enough to do so.
Why Voting Matters
Casting a ballot is one of the basic duties of everyone in a democracy. Failure to vote strips you of your right to complain when the elected leaders do not do what you want them to do. Voting is also the mechanism that the people use to make sure that government conforms to the will of the people.
How To Vote
Understanding how the voting process works is critical. The first step in the process is to register to vote. All you need to do is fill out a simple card that declares your party affiliation. You can choose to be a Democrat, a Republican or an independent. This matters because some states only allow those affiliated with a particular party to vote in that party’s primary.
Once you have registered, you go to your designated polling place on election day. Your name will be confirmed to make sure that you are eligible to vote. There is no cost to vote. You then go into the voting booth to choose your preferred candidate. Voting is private and strictly confidential.
Find Issues That Matter To You
It is easier to choose a candidate when you know what issues matter to you. Some of the important issues in most elections are:
- Jobs Policies
- Drug Policy
Many people in America are moderates. This means that they don’t agree with everything that one candidate believes in. The goal is to find a candidate who agrees with you on as many issues as possible.
How To Educate Yourself On Candidates And Issues
Make sure that you take some time to educate yourself about the candidates and the issues. There are televised debates before the election. You can read books, articles and other literature on the issues. Talk to your parents about anything that you are curious about. Talking about the issues will give you a better understand of how they impact your life. Don’t rely on TV ads because they are typically slanted and won’t give you an honest picture of what the candidate believes in.
Understanding the political process matters no matter how old you are. Getting involved at a younger age will give you more insight into how the process works. Learn as much as you can about the issues and how you can influence the process even if you cannot vote. Writing a letter to your representative in Washington can still be a valuable exercise in the political process.