Kids Voting Leon County lays the groundwork

A Precinct Candidate training session held by Katie Ibarra
Photo submitted by Gabrielle Bolden

The Nov. 6 midterm elections are less than a week away. Candidates and their supporters have been pushing for young adults age 18 and up not only to register to vote but to cast their ballot as well.

According to Time magazine, the voter turnout for young adults could be at an all-time high this year. Voter education is crucial before going out and selecting a candidate. The more a person knows the better they are prepared for what could happen next.

This is specifically why children in Leon County can look forward to casting their ballots as well, thanks to Kids Voting Leon County.

The organization is taking an initiative and is holding its own election process to assist in informing the youth, grades K through 12, about the candidates, issues and what they could look forward to once they turn 18.

Katie Ibarra, chairwoman of Kids Voting in Leon County, said their main goal is to engage the youth in voting and to not see it as a requirement but as an opportunity. “We are hoping that it gets them excited about voting that it helps them realize that it is very important, that their vote does count, and it is one of their civic duties that they should be excited about. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation, it should feel like their opportunity to have their voice be heard.”

Megan Steele is a 10th grader who looks forward to being a precinct captain with Leon County Kids Voting. She thinks this is a wonderful opportunity to assist the community, as she describes her experience with the nonprofit organization, “this is actually my first year doing it. I’m part of student government association within Leon High School, my teacher asked if anyone is interested in becoming a precinct captain and I said I would be because I’m interested in patriotism and how we can help our society.”

Kathy Corder, an instructional developer who works with the Leon County school district, says that this is an extensive procedure and there are multiple lessons that teachers create to inform students on the political candidates. “The teachers do various curricular activities. They study the issues and candidates in class; the teachers use resources from the League of Women Voters and call on other resources as well. Some teachers use the insert that comes out on the Democrat on the candidates and other newspapers.”

Kids Voting in Leon County is holding elections on Nov. 3.