Kids Voting translates into more teens, adults voting |

Kids Voting translates into more teens, adults voting

Richard Doran

Kids Voting is alive and growing, and it works!

Kids Voting is alive because this will be the fourth consecutive year here in Parachute, since the program started back with the 2000 presidential election.

This year our students will be voting with a mail-in type ballot, just like their parents. However, their mail ballot boxes will be located in the libraries of each of the schools. Even though all grades normally vote, this year’s election involves some complex issues, so only 4th through 12th graders are participating.

Kids Voting is growing because Roaring Fork Re-1 and Garfield Re-2 school districts have been evaluating this program, and their reactions have been very positive. Therefore, the outlook is favorable that all Garfield County schools will be involved in next year’s major election.

This will really strengthen the Colorado program, since Eagle County is already active and Mesa County has been participating since 1996.

Kids Voting is successful because it works. Commissioned and independent research conducted since 1998 consistently confirms the relevance and worth of this program to the future of American democracy.

First of all, there is a “trickle-up” effect that gets parent more involved because children stimulate them about voting. In addition, it is inclusive, since the classroom curriculums “level the playing field” for all students from all backgrounds.

Furthermore, there is documentation that Kids Voting increases voter turnout between 5 and 10 percent in many communities.

Finally, and most important, is that 18-year-olds who were former Kids Voters are far more likely to vote than their non-Kids Voting peers. This is extremely meaningful, since statistics prove that the lowest adult voter turnout (1 in 5) occurs among the 18- to 21-year-olds.

In 2002, Kids Voting USA was active in over 575 communities in 32 states, with more than 800,000 students casting ballots last November. I strongly urge all parents ” all citizens, for that matter ” who have computer access to visit for additional information about the program and its curriculum.

Kids Voting can instill a lot of confidence in those of us who truly believe that our kids are our future.

Richard D. Doran of Parachute is the local director for Kids Voting Colorado.

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