Reading Children Cast Their Ballots During Election
Imagine a photo of the candidates on your ballot! Last Tuesday, children in Reading had this option as ballots with photos of the candidates for President and Vice-President were available to those who came to the polls.
Each child could vote for either Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gray of the Libertarian Party, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden of the Democratic Party, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan of the Republican Party, Ms. Stein and Ms. Honkala of the Green-Rainbow Party or a Write-In candidate.
Town Clerk Laura Gemme created the ballot sheets for children to use and, like the 82 percent of Reading voters who cast a ballot, many young children were enthusiastic about this opportunity. “Parents really felt this was a good way for their child to begin to understand the process and have a lot of fun at the same time,” said Ms. Gemme. “Many more took part in the voting than we expected and this was a good way to get younger children interested in voting,” added Assistant Town Clerk Julie Rodger.
High school students also participated during polling hours. Thanks from the Town Clerk’s Office go out to the 20 students who volunteered 1-2 hours each to help direct the steady flow of voters who came to the polls. Ms. Gemme was grateful for RMHS Principal Higginbottom’s assistance in recruiting students to help out on this busy day and for the students’ valuable contribution to the polling process.
At the close of the evening, Mr. Obama was declared the winner with 376 of the 771 votes cast; Mr. Romney garnered 309 votes. There were 13 write-in candidates and one ballot from a New York resident who was in Reading due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Someday, these young voters will be casting their first real ballots and perhaps will remember this early trial run.