Minnesota is among the best of a bad lot when it comes to voter turnout. Our state often leads the nation when it comes to citizen participation in elections. The sad part is that the number of U.S. citizens who take the trouble to exercise their right to vote is pitifully small.
The Kids Voting project may help change that. Kids Voting is a non-partisan project designed to generate some excitement for the electoral process among young people in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. In the 1996 presidential election 3,456 Brainerd area school children voted for their favorite candidate. In the 1998 gubernatorial election 2,500 Brainerd area students participated.
Brainerd is among 15 Minnesota communities participating in Kids Voting. The number should grow as others see the benefits of this program.
Thanks should also go out to the 175 area people who help organize Kids Voting. They include members of Sertoma, Brainerd Jaycees, Brainerd Rotary, the Brainerd and Garrison VFW, the Nisswa Area Women of Today and several county 4-H groups.
The Kids Voting project helps students learn about the electoral process and the issues being discussed by the candidates. A second part of the equation is that the children's interest often persuades their parents to vote. A little bit of guilt can be a powerful motivator when a wide-eyed grade-schooler asks Mom or Dad why they aren't going to bother to vote.
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