Don’t forget to vote! Participate in the process, and get your kids involved as well!
In Illinois, minor children under the age of 18 are allowed into the voting booth with you, as long as they aren’t disrupting the voting process. (The election judge at your polling place has final say about this, so be nice to them!) If you’ve got super young kids, you might want to bring some distractions for them, in case there is a wait.
Your child can cast your ballot, but it is not a photo opportunity. Although there is no state law against bringing your cellphone into the polling booth, there is a state law about taking a photo of the ballot (it’s a no/no) and election judges (who are technically officers of the court) have the discretion to ban cellphones from the booth or voting area entirely, on the grounds that it could distract or interrupt the voting process.
Getting your kids involved with voting gets them excited (and demystifies) the process, and will help them realize that it is their civic duty to vote once they are old enough. (And that may be sooner than you think– there is a small but mighty movement to change the voting age from 18-16, thanks to Vote16. According to a May 2018 Chicago Reader article, alderman Harry Osterman is considering creating a Chicago resolution.
Even if they are not allowed to vote yet, you can talk with them about the candidates you are particularly passionate for, or the bond issues that you particularly dislike, and why you are voting for or against a specific issue or candidate. Of course, doing that loudly at the polling place, might be considered electioneering by the election judge, which is strictly verbotten, so consider explaining your reasons either before or after the event.
AFTER voting, do something fun with your kids. Bring them for ice cream, or take them to the playground. Let them associate the process with something good!
Other articles with helpful tips about getting kids involved in the political process: