Can I Bring My Baby to the Voting Booth? + Answers to Other Voting Questions for Parents
Election 2020: Answers to Parents' Voting Questions & Voting Resources
September 25, 2020

Election 2020: Answers to Parents' Voting Questions & Voting Resources

Election 2020: Answers to Parents' Voting Questions & Voting Resources.
Election 2020: Answers to Parents' Voting Questions & Voting Resources

Election 2020 is important for a lot of reasons. There’s a presidential election on the table, as well as all 435 US House seats, 33 US Senate seats, 11 governorships, thousands of state legislators and too many other offices to name here.

We’re also in 2020. For expecting and new parents, there’s a lot to grapple with right now. Childcare, maternal health, the environment, racial justice, education and the economy are just some of the biggest issues affecting families right now. Some states have ballot initiatives that could impact parents and families. For example, Colorado voters will weigh in on an initiative to establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program.

And then there’s COVID-19, which has reshaped how we are living—and voting—this year.

We believe in helping new parents navigate the journey of parenthood, and voting is a big part of it. Here, we’re answering some common questions from new parents as we head toward Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020—from how to vote in your state and important deadlines to “can I bring my baby with me to vote?”.

Have other questions? Email us at editor@babylist.com.

Voting Questions from Parents / Voting 101 in 2020 / Election Resources

Voting Questions from Parents:

If you’ve never voted before as a parent, you may have some logistical questions about how to vote with a new baby or younger kiddo, particularly if you’re voting in-person.

We spoke with Jeanette Senecal, Senior Director of Mission Impact with the League of Women Voters, about some common questions parents may have about voting with their kids. Here’s what she has to say.

Can I bring my baby or child into the voting booth with me?

“Yes! Bringing children to vote with you is a wonderful way to introduce them to our democracy. We know that when people go to vote with their parents, they are more likely to grow up and become voters themselves. This year many parents and caregivers are struggling with childcare during the pandemic and may not be able to vote solo. It is absolutely acceptable to bring children to vote with you.”

“For your safety and your children’s safety, you should follow your local health requirements and guidance, and make sure you all wear masks and practice social distancing. We also recommend bringing your own pen and hand sanitizer, too, and staying together the entire time you are at the polling site.”

We at Babylist would also add that if your child is small enough, bring them in a baby carrier. It can make it easier for you to navigate the voting booth, and it will leave your hands free to cast your ballot.

Are there age restrictions to children coming into the voting booth?

“As long as they are accompanied by a grown-up, children are allowed at polling sites. If you are bringing children to the polls, just keep them with you and make sure they wear masks if they are required to do so. Some states do have maximum ages for minors permitted in the physical voting booth, but all of those restrictions are for teenagers. As long as you are comfortable having your eyes off your teenagers for a couple minutes while you cast your actual ballot and they can stand or sit nearby, it’s a great way to introduce them to the voting process.”

How many children can I bring in with me at a time?

“A few states do limit voters to one or two children in the voting booth. It can vary by state, so if you are planning to bring multiple children with you to cast your ballot, check with your local board of elections about the rules.”

You can find your local board, as well as all kinds of voting information by state, here.

What should I do if someone tells me I can’t bring my child in with me?

“No one should prevent you from casting a ballot. If you are experiencing problems call 866-OUR-VOTE. That’s the number for the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline. Trained volunteers are standing by ready to help voters with the process and any issues they might encounter.”

Can non-parent caregivers bring a child into the voting booth with them?

“Yes, any voter may bring children with them to vote. Exposing children to voting and seeing democracy in action can have a lasting impact, so whether it’s a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or babysitter, going to watch a grown-up vote can be an important memory in a young person’s life.”

Any tips for how to deal with waiting in long lines to vote with my child?

“If you are planning to vote in-person with children, try to go at non-peak hours when lines are shorter. Late morning and mid-afternoon are great times to beat the crowds. If you do find yourself going at a busier time, plan ahead. Bring toys and distractions to keep kids entertained. Try to make a game out of it and for older kids, it’s a great opportunity to explain how important voting is and why you are there. And if possible, bring an extra set of hands. Bringing a friend or neighbor can be really helpful so you can stay in line while also giving your child more freedom of movement.”

Make a Parenting Voting Plan

“It’s really important for parents to make a voting plan, and that means not only deciding when and where to vote, but making sure you know what will be on your ballot. Learning about the candidates and issues you will be asked to choose between can also cut down your time in the polling site.”

At this nonpartisan elecion site, you can check registration, look up your polling site and hours, and see what will be our your local ballot ahead of time.

Voting 101 in 2020:

How do I vote in my state? Is it by mail? In person? Either?

Because of COVID-19, many states have different protocols for voting in 2020. This is a handy state-by-state look at how you can vote from FiveThirtyEight.com. Just click on your state on the map to see much of the info you’ll need in order to cast your ballot on Election Day.

This simple tool from US Vote Foundation is also helpful.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

You can check your voter registration status here. Even if you voted in the last election, it’s a great idea to double-check that all your info is accurate and your registration is still active.

What if I’m not registered to vote?

No problem. You can easily register online at Rock the Vote. But! Be sure to check this to see online registration deadlines for your state, as the deadlines differ depending on state.

Do I need to bring ID with me to vote?

Again, that depends on which state you live in. Currently, 36 states have laws requiring or requesting you show some form of ID at the polls. You can check the rules in your state on this National Conference of State Legislatures site.

Election Resources:

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