All PTA Members Have an Obligation to Vote in Elections


“The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it.” –Congressman John Lewis

Every day, throughout this nation and overseas, PTA members are hard at work, striving to better the lives of all children. Collectively, our non-partisan voices have made a positive impact nationwide.

Just as we speak up for children through our advocacy work, we also need to exercise the privilege given to every U.S. citizen—the right to vote. Not only should we vote, we need to motivate the people in our schools and communities to vote.

As child advocates, we need to engage, inform and educate our membership on the issues facing our children and education on the ballot today. We need to provide them with the tools they need to vote intelligently at the ballot box.

Elections can have consequences to our mission and we need to make sure our elected officials will work to serve our children well.

So, how can PTA members get involved in non-partisan civic activities? There are a several ways for PTAs to engage their membership as Election Day approaches.

View the list of civic engagement activities your PTA can do as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization below and check out our Election Guide for more options.

  • Organize voter registration drives (check state and local laws)
  • Host candidate forums
  • Work with other organizations like the League of Women Voters to distribute information on state and local issues that may be on the ballot
  • Hold or participate in a Mock Student/Parent Election on Nov. 3
  • Encourage 18-year-old students to vote and help them register, and plan a trip to the polls together
  • Ask your membership to familiarize themselves with the candidates and issues
  • Help members identify the location of their polling place and its hours of operation
  • Inform parents and families of the proper identification and additional information they need to bring with them to the polls in order to vote in your state
  • Provide information to your school community about alternative ways to vote in your state (absentee, early voting, vote-by-mail)

Voter turnout in the United States has steadily declined. A Pew Research Center study shows that in 2012 the U.S. trailed most developed countries in voter turnout, coming in at number 27 with a 53.6% voter turnout. Often people do not vote because of time constraints, lack of information about the process or because they think that their vote will not matter.

Have your PTA members mentioned that they feel their vote does not make a difference? Remind them that elections have been won by just one vote—and in the not-too-distant past, 537 votes made the difference in a presidential election.

If we as PTA members do not speak up for all children, who will? Make a difference in the lives of children. VOTE on Nov. 8 and encourage all child advocates to cast their ballots.

 As you head to the polls, remember these wise words from the Dalai Lama, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”


Latha Krishnaiyer is the past president of Florida PTA and a current National PTA bylaws and policy committee member.

What PTA Means to Me

Latha KrishnaiyerGrowing up in India, I was never left in any doubt about the importance of education. Belief in the power of education cuts across all socio-economic lines and parents make it a priority in the lives of children.

In a country, where there isn’t an adequate public education system, parents still do their very best to provide their children with a quality education. Perhaps this is why I am so passionate about fighting for high quality public schools for all children and continue to be in awe of the concept of a free and equal system of education.

As an education major, moving to Florida from Wisconsin, I was worried about the quality of the public schools. My professors advised me to get involved in the school and volunteer. And did I ever, literally jumping in with both feet. When I registered my son for kindergarten, I signed up for the PTA and checked off so many committees that when I arrived at Open House, I was startled when I was told that the first VP of the PTA wanted to see me. Why? My first teachable PTA moment.  Always welcome eager new volunteers and give them an assignment to do. It sure got me moving.

I got involved in PTA as so many of us do for our own children, but involvement in PTA opens up a vista of information, education and training, which in very short order turns you into a lifelong advocate for all children. The experience and opportunities that you can access as a PTA member, equips you to become a successful presenter, trainer and leader, not only in your PTA, but in any setting, be it corporate, volunteer or even political office. That same Vice President that met me at Open House, went on to become the mayor of our city– that is what PTA can do for you.

My own PTA journey began 35 years ago and led me to become President of the Florida PTA and a member of the National PTA Board of Directors. My active involvement has continued well past my son’s school days and will always be a part of my life. Advocacy on behalf of children is a high calling and is always in need of voices that can speak up for children. As America changes, it will take many diverse voices to move the agenda forward for children and public education. I continue to enjoy spreading the PTA vision and message to new members. I hope to see many more of our diverse community get involved and active in speaking up for children, who are yet to find their voices.


Latha Krishnaiyer – Masters in Exceptional Student Education, former classroom teacher, Past President of Florida PTA, former member of National PTA Board of Directors, currently serving on National PTA’s Organizational Effectiveness Committee, UFEN Team Lead, Broward County, Florida.