Vote For Us!

The Strong Families Guide to Civic Participation

Health care = strong families = I vote

Strong Families is a home for the 4 out of 5 people living in the US who do not live behind the picket fence – whose lives fall outside outdated notions of family. While a two parent married middle class family has never been the reality for most of us, too many of the policies that affect us are based on this fantasy. From affordable childcare and afterschool programs, to fair immigration policy and marriage equality, the way we make policy and spend tax dollars needs to catch up to the way we live.

That's way we have created Vote for Us! The Strong Families Guide to Civic Participation. Civic participation means getting everyday folks involved in the decisions that affect our families and communities. Election season, is an especially important time for us to speak up, and there are many ways we can all get involved in the process, regardless of whether we can vote or our citizenship status.

This guide provides the tools you need to help ensure that every family has the rights, recognition, and resources needed to thrive. Use this guide to help you make informed decisions about candidates, ballot measures, and any other public policy proposals. Share it with your friends, family, coworkers, community organizations, and religious groups to start conversations about what the elections mean for our families. Together we can ensure that decision makers hear that all families matter!

When you vote, you aren't just picking a candidate or a policy, you're casting a vote for yourself, your future, and your family. So get involved for yourself and all families. Vote for you! Vote for us!


Download the Guide: English | Spanish | Youth version


Strong Families is an initiative of Forward Together,
a non-partisan organization that does not take positions on candidates.

What Happens When We Don't Vote?

Human rights = strong families = I vote

Elections matter because bad decisions by elected leaders hurt our families. When politicians see that we don't vote, they only advocate for the people who do vote, using narrow, outdated ideas of what makes a family. By deciding to only support certain narrowly defined families and creating policy that pits their families against ours, these leaders hurt us all and make our society weaker. We see examples of this harmful policy every day, when:

  • An immigrant parent is separated from their child because they are detained or deported
  • A young person is exposed to HIV because they got bad – or no – reproductive health information at school
  • A gay parent can't adopt their nonbiological child
  • A woman can't get reproductive health care because her health insurance won't cover it
  • A family has to choose between paying for groceries or paying the electric bill because their benefits keep getting cut
  • A young person is caught up in the legal system rather than supported by the school system
  • A community has high rates of illness because of pollution and toxins where we live, work and play.
  • You aren't just voting for a candidate. You're voting for the well-being of you and your family. Voting is a public way of saying, "Our families count and all of our lives matter!"


Download the Guide: English | Spanish | Youth version

Apply the Strong Families Filter

Igualdad = strong families = Mi voto

Once we agree that voting is essential for our families, Strong Families values can help us make sure the candidates we elect and the initiatives we enact will improve life for our families and protect us from those who want to keep us down.

Use the following Strong Families values to assess candidates and the policies they promote.

This candidate or policy supports (check all that apply):

  • Health care and health insurance for all families, whether through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, or other state and local programs.
  • Creation of jobs we can get and keep that pay us enough to support ourselves and our families.
  • Our right to make our own reproductive choices, including access to birth control.
  • Affordable and stable housing for our families in safe and welcoming communities.
  • Equality for all families, including the right to marry, raise children, and access jobs and housing without discrimination.
  • Immigrant families' rights to stay together in the location they choose.
  • The end of racial profiling by the police and courts.
  • Family leave, good public schools, day care and other programs that make it easier to care for the young.
  • In home care, support for care providers and other programs that support care for the elderly and disabled.


Download the Guide: English | Spanish | Youth version

If You Can't Vote

Non-discrimination = strong families = I vote

You can "Vote for Us" even if you can't vote. While voting is one key way to get involved in the decisions that affect our communities, there are many other ways to act on your beliefs, regardless of your voting rights or citizenship status.

While you must be over 18 and a U.S. citizen to vote, there are many additional ways to make a difference. Encourage and educate the people you know who can vote. Let them know their vote is important to you – that it's a vote for all families. You can share this voting guide at your church or organization, write letters to your local paper, or work directly with candidate or ballot measure campaigns. And if you have a past felony conviction, you can check out your voting rights in your state here..

Beyond election day, tell elected officials what you think about the policies they make all year long. Write letters, call their offices, meet with them in person, invite them to a community meeting, or participate in rallies or protests that can share your communities' opinions far and wide.

Every time you share your voice with the decision makers who affect our lives, you're voting for us!


Download the Guide: English | Spanish | Youth version

Youth Guide

Youth guide

Young people are making change for themselves and their families all year round. While you must be over 18 and a U.S. citizen to vote, there are many additional ways to make a difference.

  • Encourage and educate the people you know who can vote. Let them know their vote is important to you – that it's a vote for young people and all families.
  • Share this guide at your church or organization, write letters to your local paper, or work directly with candidate or ballot-measure campaigns.

Beyond election day, build your leadership and organize your community around telling elected officials what young people and families need.

Write letters, call politicians' offices, meet with officials in person, invite them to a community meeting, or participate in rallies or protests that share your communities' opinions far and wide.


Download the Youth Guide here.

¡Vota por Nosotros!

La Guía de Participación Cívica de Strong Families

La Guía de Participación Cívica de Strong Families es para ti y para todos en tu familia y comunidad que quieren cambiar las políticas que nos afectan. La participación cívica debe involucrar a todos en las decisiones que afectan a nuestras familias y comunidades. En la temporada de las elecciones es particularmente importante que levantemos nuestras voces y nos unamos al movimiento, sin importar el que podamos o no votar o nuestra situación o estado legal.

Esta guía nos proporciona a todos las herramientas necesarias para asegurar que cada familia tenga los derechos, el reconocimiento y los recursos para prosperarLa guía se puede usar para tomar decisiones importantes, por ejemplo sobre las propuestas de ley. Compártelo con tus amigos, tu familia, compañeros de trabajo, organizaciones comunitarias, y grupos religiosos; úsalo en tus conversaciones sobre las elecciones. Unidos podemos ganar y asegurar que las decisiones de nuestros representantes políticos estén de acuerdo con nuestras necesidades.

Cuando votas, estás votando por ti mismo, por tú futuro y por tú familia. Así que únete al movimiento para ti y para todas las familias. ¡Vota por ti! ¡Vota por nosotros!


Descarga la guía en español aquí.