By Charlotte L. Glover
November 10, 2008
The voting was open to children ages eighteen and under who could write their first and last name. We wanted the kids to be old enough to understand what they were doing and to recognize that they are learning about our democracy and how elections work.
Press releases went out to all the schools, radio stations and the local newspaper about the program. The children's librarian also made a catchy audio public service announcement for the public radio station which aired frequently.
When children arrived in at the library, they signed in at the library desk in a heavy notebook adorned with numbered spaces and sparkly star stickers on each numbered line.
Once they signed in, the kids were given a ballot made of heavy paper. There was a place on the ballot where children could write in a candidate. The write in's included Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Joe Jonas, Elmer Fudd and Sarah Palin. Junior High teacher Mr. Pennino also got a shout out which was appropriate since he personally walked 45 kids to the library one rainy day so they could vote.
Library staff created a special voting area in the library, made simply out of hanging crepe paper in a quiet corner where a computer terminal usually sat. Pens and pencils were in ample supply for the voters and no one had to wait more than a few minutes to enter the booth.
After voting, children received a box of Cracker Jacks from the library desk adorned with a custom made "I Voted at the Ketchikan Public Library" sticker with the "Duck for President" logo. The prizes were purchased with Friends of the Library store credits at a local grocery known as the 1% program.
So who won? Barack Obama by
two votes! The final tally was 148 to 146 for Mc Cain with 40
write in votes and 6 question ballots. Like the rest of the country,
the kids of Ketchikan were looking towards the future with hope
in their hearts.
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