Parents. We’re not like other people who can just drop everything and fly out to a swing state to canvas, or host raucous fundraising cocktail nights, or even attend a GOTV concert on a whim.  But there’s a lot we can do — with our families — to help make a difference on this Last Weekend for this important midterm election on Tuesday.

It’s never too early to get kids engaged in civics and understanding their important role in a Democratic society. With that, grab one — or more! — of these ideas and see what you can do to help.

But first…why it matters.

It really really really matters

This Vote like a Mother tee supports impactful, mom-centered political orgs
I have one in black!

Let me be perfectly transparent; anyone who knows me or Kristen, or has read our site knows where we stand on civil liberties, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, affordable healthcare for all and access to women’s healthcare in particular, compassion for immigrants and asylum-seekers, a belief in science, support for the free press, common sense gun laws and background checks, and the creation of policies that create a more equitable and inclusive country in which everyone has a chance to succeed — let alone breathe clean air and drink clean water and feed our kids and get them a decent public education.

That said, I do believe that everyone should vote. Everyone.

Yes, everyone.

I met someone last night who challenged me on this, suggesting that by referring to this “an important election year,” I was indicating that I only want people to vote “my way.”

So, in a sense…yep. Sure. If you believe in taking away civil rights from people who don’t look, act or pray like you, if you think the cruelty and inhumanity we’re seeing in the highest levels of government right now are just fine, I have big issues with that. However. I believe with all my heart that more unites us than divides us. Especially as parents.

Her Right Foot: Exquisite picture book about the meaning of the Statue of Liberty by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris
From Dave Eggers’ children’s book, Her Right Foot, illustration by Shawn Harris

Maybe I’m being naive, but I have to believe that the majority of us don’t want our neighbors or family or friends to go bankrupt over over a medical emergency. We don’t want cancer to be a preexisting condition that’s no longer covered by the proposed GOP “healthcare” bill  — let alone pregnancy, PMS, asthma, diabetes, MS, anxiety and depression.

We don’t want our kids growing up to hear the news filled with horrible attacks on their race or their religion or their sexuality or their ancestry or their gender — especially when those attacks come from the White House. We don’t want babies and children separated from parents legally seeking asylum, let alone locked in cages or sent away secretly for adoption. We don’t want our own kids terrified to go to school, having nightmares about lockdown drills. We want more kids in college and fewer scrambling for minimum wage jobs.

We want our girls and boys growing up believing in their inherent self-worth and value.

Thank you for voting tote from Vote. org

Thank you for voting tote via Vote.org

More voters = Better representation

If we had more voters — like in Australia where voting is mandated by law — we’d have more educated voters. More educated voters create better leaders, and when they have to answer to more voters, they will better represent the most Americans, not just those most likely to show up at the polls.

(You know why young people are “getting screwed by a system and leadership that don’t reflect their vision for the future”? Because YOU DON’T SHOW UP TO VOTE, plain and simple. Don’t even get me started on this article featuring the quote from a 27-year-old non-voter that shall live on in infamy, “I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.” Gah. )

The USA desperately needs the return of checks and balances

This year in particular, there’s a ton of evidence that even traditionally Republican and Independent swing voters are hoping to create more checks and balances in our government by supporting Democratic candidates in local races, to ensure no one branch becomes too powerful, and to stem corruption (and hateful racism)  in the Executive Branch that results from, well, a lack of checks and balances.

Our democracy and the brilliant system put together by the founding fathers relied on the notion that all elected officials, in all branches, would respect its foundations. That ain’t happening so much these days, my friends.

All of which to say…vote. Vote vote vote.

But don’t just vote. I you can, spend a little time this weekend do some of these things too.

Advocacy tees to help support the ACLU from Brave New World Designs on Etsy
Tees from designer Christine Koh of Brave New World Designs

Here’s what you can do The Final Weekend before the Midterms. Your kid can help!

1. Double check your voter registration status
I cannot say this enough: Please please double-check your voter registration at Vote.org. It’s fast, it’s easy, and kids will get a kick out of this since it’s alway cool to look up your name online.

However: If for some reason there’s a problem, like you’ve been purged from the rolls or less nefariously, you’ve moved and so your address is incorrect or your name is misspelled, see if you can still make that change in your state.

Also be sure to find out just what you need to do in your state to cast a provisional ballot on Tuesday.

Why you may need to cast a provisional ballot by state: Election tips for voters

Reasons you may need to cast a provisional ballot, via the NCSL

2. Make a last-minute donation to a hotly contested race, even in another county or state.
Even governorships of other states have a huge impact on the country a whole because of redistricting and gerrymandering, which impacts congressional voting.

To make it SUPER easy, Act Blue has set up an Immediate Impact Fund, dividing your donation (however small) among candidates in close, critical races who can use the boost most.

If you want to go it alone, this interactive map on the NY Times (no paywall from what I can tell) indicates the closest House races, while you can track the close Senate races on this map.

Maybe your kids even want to contribute a small portion of their allowance to help. What a cool way to help them get invested in the outcome of the election.

Text WEEKEND to 50409 to find Last Weekend GOTV needs near you | photo: Lilly Lam on Twitter
Photo via @LillyLam on Twitter

3. Contact other voters this weekend. It doesn’t have to be scary!
Kids love volunteering! Mine have even made phone calls in phone banking sessions to other states — and had a wonderful experience doing it. You can do it right from home on your own laptop and everything.

You can also knock on doors (i.e. canvassing).

Or, just text if you’re intimidated by talking to people. To find what’s needed, text WEEKEND to 50409 to reach Swing Left. Even The Hulk recommends it and you don’t want to get him mad.  

4. Find an event near you — there are AWESOME ones
You can easily find local GOTV events via Swing Left by entering your ZIP code on their web page.

I just clicked over, and did you know you can take a bus from Manhattan to Long Island with Broadway stars on Monday and canvas together? Whoa. That is going to be one fun bus ride!

You can also check in with nonprofits you support. While 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations cannot legally endorse or oppose candidates, they can engage in nonpartisan outreach efforts, and you might enjoy participating in GOTV efforts with like-minded citizens — whether your family’s pet cause is nature preservation, girls’ education, or animal rescue.

5. Sign up to drive people to the polls
If you’re a parent, we bet your superhero skill is carpooling. Sign up to drive people to the polls through Carpool2Vote, a project of Women Voters USA

6. Just talk to your neighbors and friends
Sometimes helping is as simple as having a conversation. You can text friends using the Crooked Media/Vote Save America Vote with Me app — and just your friends!

Or…chat in person. Our own associate editor, Kate Etue, learned that her neighbor with four kids has never voted because of childcare issues. Simply offering to babysit for a few hour can make a big difference in that person’s life — and even create a more engaged, lifelong voter. Go Kate.

And go you. And go America!

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