To Vote or Not to Vote?

Conversation Guide

2018 is a midterm election year. 2014 was the lowest midterm election voter turnout since WWII. Turnout of the voting-eligible population was just 36.4 percent, according to the projection from the United States Elections Project. Many people are wondering what kind of turnout this year will bring. 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 to.

Background Information:

One of our partners, Serena Witherspoon, has written a few blogs on the subject of voter engagement. While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • 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?
THREE:

What are your biggest concerns about voting?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • Are you registered to vote? What led you to that decision?
  • What was your experience in getting registered to vote?  
  • What are citizens' voting responsibilities and obligations?
  • How important was voting in your family?
  • Do you believe our election outcomes would be different with substantially higher voter turnout? How so?
 

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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