From ASCD Inservice: Five Reasons Educators Must Vote.
I would take this a step further and say educators should consider other forms of participation. Voting is just one way to participate; you can also write letters to, or meet with, your elected officials, get involved in local issues you care about, or even run for local office. When your students see you doing these things, they get the message that participation is important, real, necessary, cool, something they might be able to do someday.
Forget that "don't wear political buttons" bullshit. Recently a Federal judge ruled in favor of New York City when it argued that "when a teacher wears a political button in the classroom, it creates an environment of intimidation and hostility toward students who do not share that view." Of course we need to make sure we are not creating that kind of environment in our classrooms. But we have the power to do that, buttons or not. Our politics are always going to make their way into the classroom, no matter how hard we try to stay "neutral." And even with our buttons, we can say, this is my personal view. Here are the other views. Here are the resources whereby you can make your OWN decisions.
I think we MUST wear our buttons. I plan to tell my students that I made 150 phone calls for Al Franken this weekend. But I know, and they know, that I have the kind of classroom where if they tell me they knocked on doors for Michelle Bachmann all weekend, they will get a big smile and an "awesome!" out of me.