Category Archives: Citizenship

My Duty as a Citizen

“My Duty as a Citizen” was the theme of the Kids Voting Brownsville Spring 2013 Art and Multimedia Contests
that were open to students in all Brownsville schools.

Winners from among the more than 160 semi-finalist submissions were announced in early May after being judged by members of The University of Texas at community and members of the Brownsville community.

The contests gave Brownsville students the opportunity to display their knowledge of civic responsibilities in creative ways. Students expressed ideas of responsible citizenship by illustrating the importance of voting, the voting process, maintaining a safe and healthy environment, among many other ideas.

Contest winners were presented with prizes fully funded by local businesses.

High School Seniors Participate in Voting Process; 10,000 Since 2005

Since the initial Pilot Program in November of 2005, more than 10,000 high school seniors have helped Central Ohio voters as part of the Youth at the Booth program.  In partnership with the Franklin County Board of Elections, Kids Voting of Central Ohio operates the Youth at the Booth program which recruits, trains, and places 17- and 18-year old high school seniors as official poll workers each election.

Jeff Cabot, executive director of Kids Voting of Central Ohio, said, “This is real, hands on experience in democracy.  The students constitute a talented workforce for conducting the election and get an important lesson in civics that is highly valued by educators.”

According to Suzanne Helmick, founding Director of Kids Voting, “when we began the program, students had to be 18 years old to work at the polls. But we worked with area legislators and students from Columbus Alternative High School to amend the law.” The state law was changed in 2006 to permit 17-year old high school seniors to serve as official Precinct Election Officials in Ohio.
The students are recruited through the Kids Voting partnership from all Franklin County school districts and trained as Machine Judges to operate the voting machines used in Franklin County.  They are paid the same as adult poll workers and work the same long day – 5:30 a.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.

William Anthony, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections said, “Our experience with the student poll workers has been very positive.  They are an essential part of our operation.”

Dana Walch, deputy director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, observed that “Youth at the Booth students are likely to remain involved in the political process, so this program provides a next generation of poll workers and active voters.”
Kids Voting now works with the Delaware County Board of Elections as well.

“This is a significant milestone in our work to grow the next generation of active, informed citizens.  Look for the white Youth at the Booth tee shirts at your polling place on Election Day,” Cabot concluded, “and congratulate them on their initiative and performance of a civic duty.”

The Importance of Virginia – Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

By Doug Anstaett

In the just-completed 2012 presidential election, Virginia played a key role as a “swing state.”

The race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was too close to call in several states, so the candidates spent a considerable amount of time jetting back and forth trying to convince voters in those “battleground states” they were the best choice for president.

The race went down to the wire, and Virginia’s electoral delegates eventually were awarded to the incumbent president.

This isn’t the first time Virginia has served a significant role as a “swing state.” In the days leading up to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, representatives from the “Old Dominion” led a valiant effort to include basic individual rights in the nation’s founding document.

While a listing of those rights we cherish today wouldn’t make it into the original document, Virginia’s delegates placed considerable pressure on their peers to promise they would be addressed by the First U.S. Congress.

Serving as the chief catalyst for the individual rights movement was a man who never got much credit for it. He didn’t become president or vice president and certainly was seldom mentioned in the same breath with the other Founding Fathers.

In fact, you’ve probably never heard his name except for when his university advances in the NCAA basketball tournament.

But George Mason extracted a promise from fellow Virginian James Madison, a future president, to make sure those rights of freedom of speech, press and religion, freedom from search and seizure, the right to a fair trial by a jury of ones peers and the right to bear arms were spelled out.

Mason, a Virginia delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, already had significantly affected the American Revolution by writing the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Many phrases from that document can be found in slightly altered words in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including “all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people,” “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety” and his call for “frequent, certain, and regular”elections.

Mason believed government power should be limited and that the rights of citizens should be paramount. But his proposal for a bill of rights fashioned after Virginia’s was defeated. At the first session of the first Congress, Madison, also an elected representative from Virginia, introduced a Bill of Rights that reflected Mason’s ideas.

Besides the rights already mentioned above, those first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution also outlawed excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishment and reserved some powers to the states.

Today, some 221 years later, Americans exercise those rights each and every day. Maybe this year we should say a word of thanks to the state of Virginia and especially to the delegate who wouldn’t take no for an answer on our most cherished rights: George Mason.

Doug Anstaett is executive director of the Kansas Press Association in Topeka.


Click here for the official Kids Voting USA nationwide results.

2012 Presidential Election Results Press Release

Click on the affiliate name to see their specific results: (Please remember most of the PDFs are searchable so if you are looking for your specific school, find your affiliate, click on it and search the PDF for your school name.)



Cherry Creek (CO)

Denver (CO)

Mesa County (CO)


Broward County (FL)

Leon County (FL)

Tampa Bay (FL)



Blue Valley, Sycamore Hills Schools, Hickman Mills Schools, Liberty, Platte County, Shawnee Mission, Home School Association

Northern Kentucky

Stoughton (MA)

Minnesota, Minneapolis


Southern Nevada

New Hampshire

North Carolina: Alleghany, Beaufort, Buncombe, Burke, Carbarrus, Catawba, Carteret, Clay, Cumberland, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Greene, Guilford, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lee, Madison, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Wake County

North Dakota

Central Ohio

Talawanda (OH)

Chester County (PA)

Southeast Pennsylvania

South Dakota

Brownsville (TX)

Dallas (TX)

Virginia (NSV)


BooJee Beads team up with the Kansas Newspaper Foundation to Support KVUSA

Newbury, OH (November 4, 2012)…Imagine an election where the voters respectfully listen to opposing views, discuss differences through polite and civil discourse, and critically dissect the mounds of partisan messages bombarding them on television and through the Internet. Vitriol of any kind is taboo and after a heated political debate, the adversaries might sit down for milk and cookies, or gather outside for a pick up game of basketball.

On Tuesday, this imaginary election will become a reality for two million schoolchildren across the United States. As participants in Kids Voting USA’s year-long program emphasizing deliberative democracy—where students learn to formulate and express their own political opinions, while inviting those with opposing opinions to do the same—the pint-sized patriots will proudly cast their votes for President of the United States.

While the votes of K-12 students from dozens of states around the country won’t determine the outcome of the 2012 elections, Kids Voting USA says that their program will stick with kids for many years to come, leading to long-term civic engagement and participation in the political process. In other words, these kids are likely to become life-long voters. And that is something workplace fashion ID makers BooJee Beads wanted to support.

“When I first heard about Kids Voting USA I knew it was something our company wanted to involve ourselves with,” says BooJee Beads co-founder Kimberly Martinez. “My partner Lisa Harrington and I are mothers of 5 school-age children and we were thrilled to find that there is a program that encourages children to take politics seriously, to think critically, and to dedicated themselves to becoming part of the solution by participating in the process.”

To help support programs such as Kids Voting USA’s Double Click Democracy (DCD), an online voting system for schoolchildren, BooJee Beads donated political style beaded lanyards with a retail value of $85,000. The lanyards are being offered for sale by the Kansas Newspaper Foundation and 100% of the proceeds go to the benefit of Kids Voting USA.

“Teachers are a huge part of our customer base- they tell us all the time that they love to wear BooJeeBeads to display their teacher ID’s and classroom keys with style!” Harrington says. “We are always looking for ways to support our customers and we could not pass up this opportunity to help out this great organization that is such a outstanding resource for teachers throughout the country.”

Kids Voting USA will be releasing its presidential election results sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.


#          #          #

About BooJee Beads:

BooJee Beads produces a standout line of fashion ID

jewelry and accessories. A favorite of working women with a sense of style, BooJee’s creations include beaded lanyards, ribbon lanyards and retractable badge reel jewelry. With a huge fan base of women who work in the medical, education, transportation, and government sectors, BooJee collections can be found at more than 4,000 retail partners throughout the US and Canada, as well as online at


Photo caption:

Second grader Kyle Bradbury of Madison Elementary School in Madison, Kansas shows off two of the political-style lanyards donated by BooJee Beads to help raise funds for Kids Voting USA. Along with some two million US students across the country, Kyle will cast his vote for president on Tuesday.

5K Freedom Run/Walk

On April 28th, Kids Voting Mesa County hosted the 5K Freedom Run/Walk at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens along the Colorado River. Approximately 80 runners and walkers attended this event. The event was filled with sun, amazing spirit of the participants and volunteers and post-run music and run. The affiliate plans to host this fundraiser and awareness event again in the future.

Citizenship Scholarship Awarded

Kids Voting of Central Ohio created the Kids Voting Citizenship Scholarship in honor of Suzanne Helmick, the founding director of KVCO. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a high school senior who demonstrates leadership and a commitment to citizenship through community and school activities.


For 2012 the scholarship winner is Zak Davidson of the Metro Early College High School in Columbus, Ohio. Zak has served on the Kids Voting Youth Council for two years and has been engaged in extensive civic leadership activities.Zak cited a Youth Council meeting with State Representatives Ted Celeste and Michael Stinziano as being inspirational to him. “Youth Council has had a prominent role in the shaping of my concept of citizenship through engaging and intriguing discussions,” Zak said.

While maintaining a 4.0 at the Metro school, Davidson has been engaged with National Honor Society, co-founded Metro’s first student government organization, and earned 65 credit hours at the Ohio State University. He is also a pitcher for his home Whetstone High School. Zak plans to major in political science nest year at either Ohio State or Tulane University.

KidsVention Celebrates Citizenship

Fifth and seventh grade students and their teachers – over 2,200 – from the Clark County School District in southern Nevada focused on civic education and engagement at KidsVention on October 21, 2011, in Henderson, Nevada. KidsVention is the highlight of the year for these students, as they participate in this mini-political convention without partisan politics.

The event began with the presentation of the Colors and Flag Salute, led by the Basic High School Marine Corps JROTC, followed by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Del Webb Middle School Concert Choir. Each school present was recognized during the “Roll Call of the States”. Students then listened to debates on current topics, presented by elected officials and debate students from Green Valley and Foothill High Schools. Elected officials that participated were Nevada State Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, Nevada State Senator Joe Hardy, Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow, and Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. The debate topics were: the United States should end its use of the penny, students should be allowed to use social network sites in class for educational purposes, suspension from school is an effective method of discipline, and school districts should be allowed to use advertising on school buses.

Local newsman, Gary Waddell of 8 News NOW (CBS), served as Master of Ceremonies, and the debate topics were introduced by Henderson City Mayor Andy Hafen, CCSD Board of Trustees Member Deanna Wright, Terri Janison of the Governor of Nevada’s office, and CCSD Deputy Superintendent Pedro Martinez. Students voted on each debate with great vigor!

The program also included choral presentations by George Dare, a local singer and composer, and included the back-up singers of the Del Webb Concert Choir. Their selections were “Let Freedom Ring “ (KVUSA’s theme song), “We Call Henderson Home”, and “Shine, Las Vegas”. All three numbers were composed by Mr. Dare. The program concluded with a presentation of “Sojourner Truth”, delivered by Kim Russell, a local performer; reading of the debate results, which were received with even more enthusiasm from the students; and a rendition of “America the Beautiful”, with audience participation and led by the Del Webb Choir.

KidsVention is organized and facilitated by the Board of Directors of Voices In Voting/Kids Voting Greater Las Vegas. Expenses for the event were covered by the Board partners, elected officials, SCE Federal Credit Union, SONEPCO Federal Credit Union, Silver State Schools Credit Union, 8 News NOW and their Community Pride partners, Wells Fargo, Clark County School District, Nevada PTA, League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley, NV Energy, City of Henderson and the Henderson Pavilion, Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, and a number of individuals.

KVUSA Supports U.S. Youth Delegate Initiative

Kids Voting USA (KVUSA) recently was approached by Kolton Gustafson, who was very active in Kids Voting Mesa County (Colorado) while in high school and now is studying political science at George Washington University in Washington D.C.  Kolton is part of a group working on a United States Youth Delegate Initiative that hopes to establish a position for a youth delegate to the United Nations within the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as well as to represent the youth voice at the United Nation.  KVUSA believes that this is a worthwhile initiative and supports it.  Please read the PDF for all the details.