DOWNINGTOWN, PA — Each year, students from across the country have the opportunity to participate in Kids Voting USA, which teaches the importance of democracy, how elections work and the concept of voting. To kick off Kids Voting in Chester County, Kathy Gurnee, special events coordinator at the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), organized a live question and answer session with former Chester County mayors and students of all ages.
On October 18, past Chester County mayors Caroyln Comitta, Josh Maxwell and Leon Spencer, attended a Zoom session to answer questions that were submitted from students across the county. Three local students, Abi Elanchezhiyan, Sophia Song and Wendy Barry participated in the live recording to interview the mayoral panel.
“A big part of Kids Voting is helping both children and adults realize the importance of voting in every election, and that elections happen not once, but twice every year, primaries happen every April or May and general or presidential elections happen every November,” stated Gurnee.
“Parents were encouraged to spend time with their children discussing the offices and candidates on the ballot, as well as gathering information from media outlets and online resources such as Votes PA or Chester County Voter Services,” said Gurnee. “After the research portion of the project, students took part in a voting experience using a ballot that mirrors the actual ballot with the same candidates and issues.”
Each of the participating school districts had the opportunity to integrate the Kids Voting project into their programs. With over a dozen mayoral races occurring in the 2021 election, this year’s Kids Voting program centered on mayors. Activities such as researching services that mayors implemented during their tenure or evaluating the qualities of past leaders with the current candidates were provided to students, which highlighted the role that local mayors play in our communities.
Kids Voting for Chester County students was open from October 25 through November 2, 2021. The purpose of this “practice” voting is to enable students to learn about the voting process, replicate a real-life voting experience for students and reinforce the knowledge and skills gained through Kids Voting classroom activities.
According to its website, “Kids Voting USA is a nonpartisan, grassroots-driven voter education program committed to creating lifelong voting habits in children, increasing family communication about citizenship and encouraging greater adult voter turnout.”
To learn more about Kids Voting or to watch the three-part Q & A series, visit www.cciu.org/kids-voting.
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