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During a presidential-election year, the Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Department of Education sponsor a program called Indiana Kids’ Election. This mock election allows Hoosier students in kindergarten through 12th grades to go through the voting process Nov. 6, just as their parents, grandparents and other adults will do.
According to the IKE Web site, the program is designed to help younger generations develop good voting habits early on. Students even have to register in an allotted time, just like those of us who are eligible to vote.
“Based on the premise that voting is only occasionally done by inspiration, IKE attempts to help thousands of Hoosier students acquire the habit of voting at a young age,” said ISBA President C. Erik Chickedantz of Fort Wayne.
Teachers are encouraged to help their students get to know the candidates and watch the news, cultivating discussion about certain topics and platforms discussed by the candidates. The idea is simple, yet stands for something great.
It’s very important to engrain such practices in our younger generations’ minds. And, in truth, it is a lesson we should all learn and remember during every election, not just presidential ones.
According to 2010 Census records, there are 6,501,582 Hoosiers. Of that number, only 4,409, 890 were registered to vote in the May primary this year. That doesn’t seem too horrible. Here’s a real disturbing figure, however. The Indiana Election Division Web site states that in the last general election held in November 2010, only 41 percent of the 4,329,152 registered voters casted votes. Only 41 percent.
In the 2012 primary? Only 957,510 registered voters turned in their votes. That’s 22 percent.
Arguments can and have been made. Too many times we find ourselves jaded from all the mudslinging or we just don’t find ourselves knowledgeable enough to make a decision. Sometimes we just let time slip away from us on Election Day. Sometimes we may feel our vote doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
The truth of the matter is, however, there should be no excuse for not exercising your right to vote, a right that many before us have fought and died for. And in a democratic society, we believe every vote matters.
Just as Hoosier students are being encouraged to listen to all candidates and to form their own opinions before the November vote, we ask the same of all eligible Hoosiers. It’s not something that costs you money and there isn’t any great sacrifice. Make sure you’re registered to cast your vote. The deadline to register in Indiana is Oct. 9 and it takes only a moment to do by visiting the Perry County clerk’s office or checking online at www.IN.gov.
And take care to listen to each candidate, from the presidential runners all the way down to our local races. This is just as important as voting itself. Keep your eyes and ears open for debates and come out to the Perry County News’ political forum Oct. 18. We urge you to not only be a registered voter, but an informed one as well.
America is unique and lucky to have the system of government we do, where the people are allowed to cast their votes. Don’t waste such a great freedom.
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