Kids Voting Kansas students question candidates during a public forum.
They're too young to vote, but old enough to ask tough questions.
Kids Voting representatives sat in on the panel of questioners at the candidates forum Monday at Lawrence city hall and grilled candidates on topics of juvenile crime, funding for education and growth in Lawrence.
``If I don't agree with something somebody does the only way I can change it is to vote,'' said Free State High School senior Sarah Gottlieb. Gottlieb won't turn 18 until next year, but she will cast her ballot in the Kids Voting election to be held alongside the regular election Nov. 3.
``I want to talk to people who are voting for real because I don't think they know about what's going on,'' she said.
Among Gottlieb's concerns: growth in Lawrence, funding for schools and drug programs, and other problems related to juvenile crime.
Ruthi Rapp, Kids Voting Committee school district coordinator, said it's important for students to be involved in the political process.
``I hope an experience like tonight, if viewed on television or heard on the radio, would create additional excitement,'' she said. ``I thought their questions were as well thought out as those of the professionals.''
Fallon Farokhi, Lawrence High School junior, said the discussion helped her form opinions of who she will vote for on election day.
``Some candidates danced their way around certain issues,'' she said. ``They didn't take a certain stance. The way they were answering was the way they wanted people to hear them, not what they really thought.''
Kids Voting booths will be set up at regular polling sites throughout Lawrence and other parts of Douglas County. Students from kindergarten through grade 12 are encouraged to go to the voting booths along with their parents to vote for political candidates on Nov. 3.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.