Building the Next Generation of Voters
Kids Voting is a community-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating young people about the importance of civic engagement and informed voting. The program is unique because it combines civic learning in the classroom, with family dialog and an authentic voting experience that reflects the adult process.
Kids Voting Shakopee is an affiliate of Kids Voting USA. We provide the highly acclaimed Kids Voting USA civics-based curriculum activities to participating schools at no charge. Students learn about the right to vote, democracy, civic responsibility and the importance of participation in the political process.
Kids Voting Shakopee serves students in the Shakopee School District and Shakopee Area Catholic School. The program is made possible by support from the Shakopee Public Schools, area service organizations, churches and businesses.
Our mission is to prepare young people to be educated, engaged voters; support educators in teaching the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; stimulate political awareness among youth and adults; and increase participation in our democracy.
Kids Voting USA was formed in 1988 by three businessmen who traveled to Costa Rica for a fishing trip. They learned that the country’s voter turnout was typically about 90%. This high turnout was attributed to a tradition of children accompanying their parents to the polls on Election Day. Intrigued by the idea, the three launched a school-based program that later grew into the national Kids Voting USA organization.
The Kids Voting program was launched in the Shakopee area in 2004. A group of community residents, with the help of the Shakopee Public Schools and the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce, led the effort to bring the program to Shakopee.
How it Works
In the weeks leading up to the election, Shakopee teachers in grades 3-9 use the Kids Voting USA curriculum activities to teach students about the rights and responsibilities and mechanics of voting. Families are encouraged to discuss current events at home. On Election Day, voting becomes a family experience as students accompany their parents to the polls and cast a special ballot on the same issues as the adults.
While their votes don’t impact the official election outcome, students learn that they have the power to shape the future by their political engagement and civic involvement.
The program’s “trickle-up” impact has been shown to improve students’ political knowledge and skills and empower them to motivate parents and others to do the same.
- Volunteers serve on a steering committee to organize the program.
- Teachers instruct students in the Kids Voting curriculum activities.
- Service organizations, businesses, churches and individuals help staff precincts on Election Day. Parents support their students by discussing the candidates and issues at home and taking their children to the polls to vote.
How old do students need to be to vote?
Kids Voting Shakopee was founded on the importance of an informed vote. In Shakopee schools, the Kids Voting USA curriculum activities are taught in grades 3-9 and elections and candidates are studied as part of Social Studies classes at the High School. Because Kids Voting stresses the importance of an informed vote, we ask that only students in third grade and older be allowed to vote.