There will come a time in your teenager’s life when they experience a series of events that foretell their approaching adulthood. Your child will conquer many exciting milestones, from getting their driver’s license to graduating high school. One coming-of-age event that is important as a permanent citizen of our country, is voting for the first time. It’s each American’s duty to head to the polls, and a right that should not be taken for granted. Here are three ways to prepare your teenager to vote for the first time.
Help Them Determine Their Political Party
In order to vote in most primary elections, your teenager must choose which party they identify with most. Before assuming your teenager’s political leanings align with yours, be open to the possibility that their beliefs may differ. If you wish to remain completely impartial, refer your teen to a political party quiz to help. You can also take a different approach and have a family discussion to help identify which causes are most important. Be sure to facilitate the conversation in an understanding way that allows your child’s unique perspectives and experiences to be heard. Through the conversation you may even learn about defining moments that have sculpted their outlook on certain issues.
Registering to Vote
Once you have identified your teenager’s political affiliation, you can now begin the process of registering to vote. For most states, registration can be completed online. However, if you’d prefer, you can download the National Mail Voter Registration form and mail in your documents. (Click here for more information.) Once the registration process is complete your teenager will be ready to vote in any local, state, and federal election. Don’t forget, many states offer an option for mail-in ballots to be sent directly to your home. So if your teen is interested in skipping the lines on election day, be sure to sign up.
The most important task of all is to ensure that your teenager learns the importance of self-education. Every election, complicated propositions and unfamiliar candidates make their way to our ballot sheets. Knowing which vote is right for you isn’t always an easy decision. Consequently, it’s vital that you show your teen how to dive into the background of each candidate and issue. Similarly, you can help your teen research important dates and deadlines that pertain to their vote. Life often gets in the way of devoting adequate time to research and the completion of crucial ballots, so the sooner you start, the better.
Voting is an American duty that is often pushed to the back burner, despite its importance. Equipping your teenager with a desire to become an informed voter will help make our country a better place. Use these three first-time voter tips to help your teen use their voice and power to be heard.