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Perry-Lecompton students get to cast ballots in state, national election

2010 Kids Voting KansasAmanda Wyninger, Perry, turns in her ballot as Josh Kampher, Perry, begins his turn in the 2010 Kids Voting Kansas elections held at the Perry Community Center. Students K-12 were encouraged to make their voices heard by participating in the voting process, held alongside the regular polls. Volunteers Dennis Knudson and Roy Seeton, of Masonic Lodge No. 415, assisted the young voters and later helped with counting up the ballots.

Story and photo by R. Zane Richards

Students in Perry ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors came to the polls alongside their parents to participate in the democratic process Nov. 2.

Across the state many future citizens participated in voting, making their choice from the same candidates as the regular voters making their own decisions then filling out ballots. They could even take an “I voted” sticker, same as the older voters. The ballots were later counted and announced just as the results from the actual election.

The program is called Kids Voting Kansas, which is an affiliate of the nationwide program Kids Voting USA. Kids Voting Kansas was begun in 1992 and has grown since then from only six locations to 55 with more than 230,000 students participating.

Kids Voting USA was created after a similar program in Costa Rica, which began 40 years ago. Costa Rica has a regular voter turn out of 80 to 90 percent, believed to be due to their voting program for children. The purpose of the program is simple and straightforward, to increase the number of lifelong voters through a thorough education that includes learning about the election process and the candidates.

The Perry-Lecompton polling site at the Perry Community Center is run by volunteers from the Masonic Lodge No. 415 A.F&A.M. in Perry and Lodge No. 420 A.F&A.M. in Lecompton. The two lodges also run the Grantville and Buck Creek polling sites in Jefferson County and the Lecompton, Big Springs and Kanawaka polling sites in Douglas County.

The local coordinator is Gerry Collie, secretary of the Perry lodge. He has been involved with Kids Vote for 10 years, originally in Lawrence and later in Perry.

“I enjoyed the students’ enthusiasm,” Gene said. He decided that Kids Vote was something the lodge in Perry could get involved in. “The students really care about who they support, they study the ballot and take their time filling out the ballot.”

Collie added, “They do not just fill out the spaces in order to get it over with.”

There is proof that the program does work, Collie said. “In communities that have Kids Voting for 10 years the voter turnout in the 20- to 30-year age group goes from a national average of 20 to 25 percent up to 50 to 60 percent.”

It’s also been shown to increase the number of adults voting. “What parent wants to take their children to vote and not vote themselves?” he asked.

The Kids Voting Kansas has been going now for eight years, the last five at the regular polling sites.

Wondering what the outcome of the young students voting was? Here are the results, based on over 300 coming out to vote:

Governor/Lt. Governor:

  • Sam Brownback/Jeff Colyer – 202
  • Tom Holland/Kelly Kultala – 76
  • Andrew P. Gray/Stacey Davis – 30
  • Kenneth Cannon/Daniel Faubion – 8

U.S. Senate:

  • Jerry Moran – 109
  • Lisa Johnston – 39,
  • Joseph K. Bellis – 21
  • Michael Wm. Dann – 5

U.S. Representative, District 2:

  • Lynn Jenkins – 115
  • Robert Garrard – 29
  • Cheryl Hudspeth – 21

Attorney General:

  • Derek Schmidt – 88
  • Stephan N. Six – 42
  • Dennis Hawver – 18

Secretary of State:

  • Kris Kobach – 65
  • Chris Biggs – 25
  • Phillip Horatio Lucas – 6
  • Derek Langseth – 2

Insurance Commissioner:

  • Sandy Prager – 48

State Treasurer:

  • Ron Estes – 46
  • Dennis MacKinney – 29

Supreme Court justices:

  • Carol A. Beier: Yes – 50, No – 14
  • Dan Biles: Yes – 50, No – 17
  • Lawton Nuss: Yes – 45, No – 19
  • Marla J. Lukert: Yes – 42, No – 16

Kansas Court of Appeals justices

  • Stephan D. Hill: Yes – 48, No – 21
  • Patrick McAnany: Yes – 48, No – 21
  • Henry W. Green: Yes – 44, No – 22
  • Tom Malone: Yes – 49, No – 20

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Posted by on Nov 14 2010. Filed under County News, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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