Each year, Kids Voting Durham sponsors a special election just for young people, giving Durham students the opportunity to vote on the same candidates and issues as Durham’s adults do on Election Day. The results of these elections are is reported in newspapers and other media just like adult voting results.
Voting sites usually consist of special ballot boxes at as many regular precinct polling places as we can find volunteers to man, plus non-polling site schools that agree to incorporate the KVD election into their civic activities. We often use older students as volunteers to man voting stations for younger children as a way to provide good role models and leadership opportunities.
Parents, teachers and other volunteers can manage voting stations, too. Check back here later this month for a list of all Kids Voting Durham polling sites for the 2010 Election.
Community organizations, school groups, parent/student teams, and student groups are encouraged to participate by adopting a precinct and helping student voters take part in voting activities each November Election. If you want to adopt a precinct, manage a voting station or volunteer in some other way for 2010, learn more here.
Durham County schools and PTA groups interested in having Kids Voting polls in their schools for the 2010 Election should email or call Carolyn Kreuger at 560-7321. Kids Voting Durham will provide participating schools with the materials (ballots, booths, etc.) as well as training on how to run a successful voting site and to prepare students for elections.
Kids Voting Durham often partners with the public and private school system, as well as individual teachers, to provide hands-on activities that enrich classroom instruction and make learning about democracy fun. Check out our resources for teachers, including curriculum options, in our special section just for educators. We also create special materials for each election cycle such as voter guides, candidate profile and issue explanations that we distribute to educate voters young and old. These materials are often prepared by older student volunteers — helping them improve their communication skills and encouraging their creativity at the same time.
We want to do more than create voters — we want to create educated, curious voters who question candidates and hold their elected leaders to a higher standard. That’s why we sponsor special events such as last Spring’s Kids Voting Durham Candidate Forum, which brought area students together with nearly a dozen candidates running for the Durham County School Board. See the story at right to learn more. We also sponsor voter registration drives for high school students, poster contests, booths and other fun activities to involve kids in democracy.
Educating the Educators:
In April 2010, Kids Voting Durham sponsored a School Board Candidates Forum that gave local students of all ages a chance to question and evaluate 11 of the 12 candidates running for seats on the Durham County Board of education.
Over 50 students met in small round table groups with one to three candidates at a time and asked hard questions about such issues as bus and bathroom safety, the effect of budget cuts on sports facilities and extracurricular activities and building better nutrition into cafeteria menus.
In the end, kids and candidates alike learned a lot from this dialogue and took away some lessons we think will help Durham build a better school system.
If you’d like to see more candidate forums and opportunities for young people to interact with candidates and elected officials. please call Carlyn Kreuger at 919-560-7321 for information on how you can volunteer with Kids Voting Durham or, if you are an elected official, be a speaker at one of our events.