To Vote or Not To Vote

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2014 was the lowest midterm election voter turnout since WWII.  What is it about voting that inspires us to participate or turn away, feeling it’s not worth our effort? Or is there some other reason?  In this conversation, we talk about what leads us to vote or not vote.

Youth voting is especially low. In the U.S. 18 to 24 year olds are the least likely part of the population to vote.  In fact in 2014 under 10% of 18 to 24 year-olds voted in CA.  Why?  In a recent youth voting Living Room Conversation the young voters and non voters all agreed that the value of voting is questionable and that they felt ill prepared by their education to vote.  We know that teens and young adults are most influenced by their peers.  If peer influence discourages voting this is a downward spiral.  Folks running for office know young people don’t vote so don’t speak to their concerns.  Young people don’t hear that voting is relevant to their lives or that their vote matters so save their time and don’t vote.  Is it important to vote?  Is it important for young people to vote?  Have a conversation about what voting means to you and why.

Relevant Blog Post: To Vote or Not to Vote

Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
A Living Room Conversation flows through 5 rounds of questions and the closing. During some rounds, each question will be addressed. In other rounds, the multiple questions are intended as conversation starters and you need only respond to the one or two that matter the most to you. In the event the conversation wanders off track, we will refer to this Conversation Guide to get it back on track.

Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
●What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
●What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
●What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
●What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country now and long-term?

Round Three: To Vote or Not to Vote?
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
●Are you registered to vote?  Why or why not?
●Should citizens be obligated to vote?  Why or why not?
●How important is voting in your family or community?
●What most interests/excites you in our elections process?

Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
●In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
●What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
●Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
●What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
●Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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