Voting In America
Voting is a cornerstone of our political system, yet the processes, accessibility, perception of legitimacy, and security around voting have shifted over the years. Recent presidential elections have seen increased concerns about the integrity of the system, push back on the electoral college, and gerrymandering accusations. At the end of the day, we have a right to vote and ideally that process would be widely accessible and protected in a way that helps people feel confidence in reported outcomes. This conversation guide is designed to draw out our personal experiences voting in elections, how we’ve seen it change in our lifetimes, and our hopes moving forward.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What does voting mean to you? How has that changed over the years?
- What’s a misconception you think people have about voting in your community?
- Have you or someone you know ever had a hard time voting? What was the challenge?
- What is your preferred way to vote, in person or mail in a ballot? Why is that?
- Do you feel comfortable voting? What do you like/dislike about the process of voting?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?