PUBLISHED: 2:49 PM on Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Elementary students vote in large numbers

Courtesy photo
  Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School students tabulate the DZ student vote. Student volunteers are, from left, Malena Lapidakis, Maya Rieselbach, Peter Bellagh and Stephanie Tripp.
This year, elementary students outnumbered older students at the Kids Voting precincts throughout the city. Whole classes of students visited the polls with the entire student bodies of Auke Bay, Mendenhall River and Riverbend elementary schools voting. Approximately 2,000 students participated in the program, which has encouraged informed youth voting in Juneau since 1996.

Students supported Diane Benson over Don Young, Tony Knowles over Sarah Palin, and Randy Wanamaker over Andrea Doll. Like Juneau adults, they voted for Kim Elton and Beth Kerttula and voted against both ballot initiatives. They voted to retain Judges Weeks, Zervos and Miller. Kids Voting Juneau brought youthful enthusiasm to election central where students gathered to learn the outcome of their voting.

Students in public, private and home schools voted at the Kids Voting booths located in each of Juneau's sixteen precincts and at Juneau-Douglas High School. The precincts were staffed by individual volunteers, organizations and business including SAGA, Tlingit Haida Central Council, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, True North Federal Credit Union, JDHS Student Council, Juneau Community Charter School, Logan General Tax Practice, NOAA/NMFS, Juneau Bar Association and Girl Scout troop 339 and Dzantik'i Heeni teacher Jamie Marks.

The non-profit, non-partisan Kids Voting Juneau program is affiliated with Kids Voting USA and provides an online civics curriculum to Juneau teachers. The program is designed to instill a voting habit in young people and to provide a fundamental understanding of government and the electoral process.