Kids Voting Durham is non-partisan, non-profit organization that help Durham’s young people understand and believe in the power they have as active citizens and informed voters.
Why Kids Voting?
The practice of democracy is not passed down through the gene pool. It must be taught and learned anew by each generation of citizens.” – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
Since 1999 Kids Voting Durham continues to provide young people in Durham County with an opportunity to vote on the same issues and candidates as adults on Election Day, offering them an authentic election experience at community polling sites and in their schools. Kids Voting develops leadership capacity and works to create engaged and active citizens who are ready to use their voices and understand the power they have in our democracy.
Our current students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are the leaders of tomorrow. Several studies point out that many young adults and future leaders have low levels of “civic literacy” demonstrating a need for more education in understanding how their government works and how to make a difference.
Kids Voting recognizes that this learning happens at home, at school, and in the community. We provide an authentic voting experience, focusing on local as well as state and national elections, classroom lessons and support for schools and teachers, and opportunities for families to engage with their children around voting, citizenship, and family dialogue. It is our hope that these young people will become lifelong voters and contributors to their communities.
Ultimately, Kids Voting…
- Creates informed and active citizens and leaders.
- Supports classroom learning and standards in civic education.
- Provides teachers with tools and training they can use to educate their students about democracy and voting.
- Connects hands-on learning to real life events.
- Increases family communication about citizenship.
- Encourages greater adult voter engagement and turnout.
- Pull out quote
- Studies show that when kids get excited about voting, adults do too. In communities where kids vote, adult turnout has been shown to rise by 3 to 10%.
Kids Voting Durham was founded locally in 1999 as a part of Kids Voting USA and housed at the Durham Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, Kids Voting became a program of Durham County Cooperative Extension and expanded from its original focus on elections to a year-round civic education and leadership development program for children and youth K-12.
Kids Voting works closely with the programs of Durham County Cooperative Extension in Youth Development (4-H), Consumer and Family Education, Agriculture and Horticulture, Early Childhood Development, and Community Capacity Building. Kids Voting continues to partner with the Durham County Board of Elections and Durham Public Schools to reach students in the community and in their classrooms.
Over 100,000 ballots have been cast in Kids Voting elections in Durham.
Hundreds of students participated in candidate forums, candidate guide workshops, voting celebrations, and other educational activities.
More than 2,000 youth and adult volunteers have given their time and talent to ensure that young people in Durham have the opportunity to vote.
Hundreds of Durham K-12 public & private school school teachers as well as homeschools have used Kids Voting resources, lessons, and events to give their students a hands-on experience of engaged citizenship.