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Monday, October 27, 2008

Teaching Children to Participate and Vote!

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My 6-year-old daughter voted yesterday! Yes, that's right, she boldly and definitively cast her vote for Barack Obama. Don't worry. We didn't break the law. I'm well aware that you have to be 18 years old to vote in this country. My little lady participated in the Kids Voting initiative that prepares children for a lifetime of active civic participation.

So, while we were at the library yesterday and the adults were standing in the long early voting line -- and believe me, that line was long -- she walked over to the Kids Voting booth to cast her vote. Like a big girl, she went into the makeshift voting booth, wrote her name, the name of her elementary school, and indicated her grade level on the ballot. Then she checked the box next to the picture of Barack Obama -- without hesitation. She placed her ballot in the box and received her "I Just Voted" sticker, which she immediately put on her shirt. I gave her a high five and we grinned.


Here's some information about Kids Voting from the organization's Web site.

After classroom preparation, students take part in a voting experience using a ballot that mirrors that of the adults with the same candidates and issues. This “real life” practice dispels the mysteries of the voting process and reinforces the knowledge and skills gained through Kids Voting classroom activities.

Look for the Kids Voting polling places in your town and let your children feel what it's like to engage in civic participation!

Kids Voting NC Public Service Announcement

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,
Mae told me about Gigi voting. I can see her now. That is good experience for her. I know you are glad that you could vote early. We need every vote we can get for Obama!!
Auntie T

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Hey Teedie,
Yes, it was awesome. Gigi was so proud and I was proud of her.
I am soooo glad I voted early. Can you vote early up there?
Obama MUST win!!!!
Love,
Lisa

Anonymous said...

I am not sure, I told Mae I am going to check and see if we can vote early. I know there will be crowds of people. We need Obama to win! I am so tired of hearing McCain and Palin.

Auntie T

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

I looked it up for you Auntie. You can't vote early in Maryland. The initiative was shot down. Read about it here in the Washington Post:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2006/08/after_early_voting.html

Lisa

Anonymous said...

I thought you couldn’t because I am sure we would have heard a lot about it. I am going to go before going to work on election day. I figure morning might not be as crowded as night, but I think whenever I go, there will be crowds which is a good thing! Thanks for the info.

Auntie T

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

You're welcome!
Fortunately or Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I think the crowds will be massive all over the country.
But keep a smile on your face when you vote because it's well worth the wait and effort!
Love,
Lisa

Naturelady said...

I helped at my kids elementary school with KIDS VOTING, and it was very eye-opening to me. I'm a naturalized citizen (German-born), and I take voting very seriously.

KIDS VOTING helps prepare kids, which is great. At a young age they're still completely influenced by their parents, and since we live up here in Alaska (Republican-Palin land), I fully expected the outcome of KIDS VOTING to be for McCain-Palin.

I'm a strong Obama supporter, but my state, alas, voted red, as expected. BUT SURPRISE: kids voting over the entire Anchorage school district elected Obama! Why the discrepancy? I attribute it to younger families (with school-aged children)voting more democratic compared to their older Alaskan neighbors who are more out for themselves ("Kids are out-of-school&home, so why do I need to support things like families or education...?")
After Obama was elected, my daughter reported some rather mean-spirited language bordering on racist talk on the school bus (I have to add that this is a very white area). It's crazy what some of those kids are saying, and I know they're just repeating what they hear at home from their parents! After discussing this at home, with input from our older daughter in college, I realized I needed to say something, and brought it to the principal's attention.
I'm glad I did -- and the principal did feel the issue deserved serious attention at the school. It doesn't matter if all the children on a bus are white, it's not OK!!! And other parents called and agreed. Ensuing is a dialogue these children will hopefully take to heart.
Somehow this little incidence, after the ground-breaking election of the first African-American president, gives me hope, even for wayward Alaska!
I remember talking with my brother-in-law in Germany this past summer(and some 90% of Germans would have voted for Obama, if they could!), and he predicted "No way will Americans elect Obama -- they are way too racist!" Well, I'm so glad he was proved wrong.
I'm so proud of my new adapted country, and feel I can once again hold my head up high when my family and I visit abroad and say I'm American!

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Naturelady,
Wow!
Not only did you do a great civic activity by helping with Kids Voting at your school, but you're also doing what a lot of people, especially in places like Alaska, don't do -- speak out against wrongs, such as racism. I congratulate you and your children.
It is very amazing that the children at that school voted overwhelmingly for Obama, given your location (Palin country). But that speaks volumes about Obama's leadership ability, honesty, and character. It just shines through -- little people pick up on that instantly.
Keep on doing what you're doing up there. I'd love to hear more reports from Alaska. Would you keep me posted, even if you simply send an e-mail to me at my e-mail address: Ramalicia@aol.com.
I'd love to hear more!
Thanks for commenting!
Peace,
Alicia