Region-wide Student Voting Campaign Reaches Hundreds of Thousands of Students

Students can even vote with their parents at designated polling places

Release Date: October 29, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- More than 100,000 students from over 100 local elementary, middle and high schools in 20 districts will participate in the largest and most comprehensive student voting program ever held in Western New York since the University at Buffalo began administering the local Kids Voting campaign.

Students from kindergarten to 12th grade will cast ballots via computer for candidates in Tuesday's election. Students in kindergarten to the second grade will vote on the presidential election.

The older the students, the more races they will cast their votes. Those in grades nine to 12 will vote for candidates running for Congress, State Assembly, State Senate, District Attorney and several judicial races, all in elections specific to students' school districts.

The Kids Voting initiative has triggered unusual excitement about the coming election in the schools, according to Katie J. Biggie, coordinator of Kids Voting Western New York and educational outreach coordinator for UB's Center for Educational Collaboration. Encouraged by the ongoing voting campaigns, student interest and enthusiasm in this year's election have "skyrocketed," Biggie said.

"Kids Voting WNY/UB seeks to introduce students to the importance of voting and civic engagement from an early age," said Biggie. "For those involved in the program, being an engaged citizen means teaching students how to raise their voices to help their neighborhoods, using the democratic process to introduce change and including their voice in all elections whether local, state or federal."

The results of all races will be posted on the Kids Voting WNY Web site ( by Nov. 6. All results will be presented by race and by school district, as well as individual schools. The student voting began Oct. 21 and will continue until Election Day, organizers said.

So far, more than 6,700 student ballots have been cast in the election. The 20 districts include all the Buffalo schools, 16 private schools and seven charter schools. Rural school districts such as Wilson and Springville are also participating in the campaign. This is the third consecutive year UB has administered the student voting program.

All students will cast their votes by computer. Individual schools and districts will decide when and in what class student voting is best suited.

"We are making history with every election," Biggie said, "and we want our students to be a part of it."

Kids Voting will also give students a chance to vote at actual polling places on Election Day. The program will provide computers at three polling locations in the University District and three in the Niagara District where students can cast their votes when they accompany their parents. UB is providing specially programmed laptops for the three University District polling spots, which will be staffed by volunteers from UB's Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) group and the Center for Student Leadership.

The Niagara County district polling locations will be staffed by volunteers from Daemen College, a continuation of a partnership that began before UB began administering the Kids Voting project.

Kids Voting is the latest example of voting initiatives developed by UB, a campaign intended to increase involvement and interest in the coming election. UB student volunteers canvassed 12 Buffalo Public Schools in September, registering 75 18-year-old high school students to vote in the November election and acting as mentors in the power of the democratic process.

OF SPECIAL INTEREST: Biggie will be at the Gloria J. Parks polling place at 3242 Main St. in the University Heights District from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Election Day. The community center is one of six polling locations where students who accompany their parents can cast their votes on specially programmed laptops. Members of the media who would like to photograph, film or interview volunteers and students taking part in these on-site student voting activities should call Charles Anzalone at 716-645-5000, ext. 1412, either before the election or 716-440-8824 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Media Contact Information

Charles Anzalone
News Content Manager
Educational Opportunity Center, Law,
Nursing, Honors College, Student Activities

Tel: 716-645-4600