Voting isn’t just for adults
A national program designed to get kids interested in voting as well as making sure their parents take the time to go to the polls has spread into the Roaring Fork Valley.Schools from Parachute to Basalt will participate in Kids Voting on Nov. 2. Students in grades kindergarten through 12 register at their schools to vote. On Election Day they will be able to cast a special ballot at the same polling place where their parents vote.The youngest kids will vote on just the presidential race. The older kids will vote on most of the same races and issues as their parents, according to Cathleen Krahe, who is helping organize the effort in Carbondale.Volunteers with the Kids Voting program will staff the polls, check the students in, give them their ballots and have them place the completed ballots in a box.Students up through fifth grade must be accompanied by an adult. The adults can assist the kids but not coach them.Every kid that votes will receive an “I Voted” sticker. An estimated 10,500 kids will be eligible to cast ballots in the region from Parachute to Basalt.Kids Voting USA was founded in Arizona in 1988 by men who witnessed kids going to the polling places with their parents in Costa Rica. They wanted to instill the same sense of civic responsibility and pride about voting among kids in America.Krahe said research by Kids Voting indicates the program boosts voter turnout among adults because kids are excited to go to the polls. Some research claims the program boosts turnout between 3 percent and 5 percent.The kids’ ballots will be counted separately from the adults and results will be released to the media.Organizers are looking for help from volunteers to staff the polls. The polls for kids will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Polls located at schools will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for kids.To volunteer or learn more information about Kids Voting in Basalt, contact Kevin Morley at 927-2461; in Carbondale call Krahe at 963-9852; and in Glenwood Springs call Wendy Moffat at 945-4468.
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