The Kids Voting program is a good way for the community to share the value of voting with local children.
As Americans, one of the most important values we can instill in our young people is the importance of voting. As imperfect as our electoral system may sometimes seem, it gives every American citizen a voice in his or her government and allows for the orderly transfer of power from one set of leaders to another.
Yet, we have been hearing recently that although many young people want to be involved in their communities and participate in volunteer activities, they don't see the point of casting a ballot. They don't think their one vote will make a difference.
That attitude is what the Kids Voting program is trying to fight. In the last two presidential elections, Kids Voting has made it possible for local youngsters to cast their ballots at real polling places around the city. In 1996, more than 5,000 Lawrence children took advantage of that opportunity. Their votes aren't counted in the official election, but the mock balloting gives the students a reason to follow candidate campaigns and election results. It also gives their parents another reason to go to the polls and cast official votes to elect real public officials.
Kids Voting also will be part of the 2000 presidential election, and volunteers are being sought to help staff the effort. People can volunteer by calling the Roger Hill Volunteer Center of Kansas University's Center for Community Outreach.
It's a good opportunity to show the next generation how important their parents and grandparents think it is to go to the polls and make their voices heard.