Voting results show kids’ world is different from adults’
The kids in Garfield County widely disagree with the adults on every issue. And we’re not just talking about bedtimes.The majority of children voted the opposite of their adult counterparts on every issue that appeared on the Kids Voting ballots. The youngsters voted in favor of Referendums C and D and against the 0.5 cent sales tax increase in Glenwood Springs, against term limit extensions for Grand River Hospital District board members and against keeping a 0.4 cent sales tax to support the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Hogback route.Sandie Cooper, the executive director for Kids Voting Colorado, credits the discrepancy to the program’s focus on getting kids to think for themselves and make independent decisions. Beyond that, she could only guess at why the votes were so different.”Life experience,” Cooper said. “A kid’s world, in most cases, is pretty small. They have a different outlook.” Sixty-three percent of students who participated in Kids Voting were in favor of Referendum C. If kids ruled, the referendum would have passed by a landslide in Garfield County. With adults running the show, the measure was defeated 52 percent to 48 percent.”When it comes to tax increases, kids might look at it a little differently than adults,” Cooper said. “Kids don’t pay taxes yet. They might look strictly at the benefits, and since education was so heavily emphasized, and they’re in the thick of their education – that might be why they voted for it.”Cooper was in charge of three Kids Voting projects – one in Mesa County, one in Denver and the one in this area. Students passed Referendum C in all three areas. “I think kids voted for Referendum C because if it passed the teachers would get more money for the schools,” said Darien McKenna, a fifth-grader at Rifle Middle School, who helped to run Kids Voting.Only the kids in Mesa County failed Referendum D, and the margins were slim, Cooper said. The margin for passing Referendum C was narrow in Mesa County as well. In fact, the farther downvalley the students, the less likely they were to vote in favor of C and D.Garfield County School District No. 16 students actually failed the referendum altogether.”We had a lot of negative media about them here in Grand Junction,” Cooper said. “I know that in Parachute, they get some feeds from Grand Junction. They could have been influenced by some of the advertising here.” Sadie Christensen, a fifth-grader at RMS, said she voted “no” on Referendums C and D and “yes” on term limits, just like the adults.”The way I voted,” Christensen said. “I based it kind of on how my parents voted.”Cooper said Kids Voting, especially with younger kids, has historically mirrored the way the parents voted.”I think the kids were really trying to be informed and make their own decisions,” Cooper said. “It’s good.”Contact Amanda Holt Miller: 625-3245, ext. email@example.com
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