Students learn about our democracy through hands-on, action-oriented classroom lessons and community and family involvement. Many students also involve their parents in the learning process with at-home discussions, community projects and voting at the polls together.
In addition to increased participation in the voting process, KVSD seeks to provide awareness and recognition of the characteristics of good citizenship and encourage the practice of these qualities. We believe that citizenship and civic engagement only begins, not ends, when the ballots are cast.
We invite everyone to be a part of the Kids Voting program; as a teacher, student, volunteer, coordinator, sponsor or advocate. Together we can begin to make America’s future stronger by helping shape the youth of our state as responsible citizens and potential leaders.
Kids Voting South Dakota is endorsed by the South Dakota Secretary of State, South Dakota’s U.S. Congressional delegation, the South Dakota Legislators and the Governor of South Dakota.
Kids Voting South Dakota Sponsorship List:
Your support helps establish a voting generation who regards voting as vital to American life. Please remember that all donations are tax deductable.
Download and print a pdf of current sponsors.
Brief History of…
- Kids Voting USA
In 1988 three Arizona businessmen took a fishing trip to Costa Rica. While vacationing, they had some conversations with local people and fishermen and came to discover that the country had nearly a 98% voter turnout, which they attributed largely to a program where students learned voter education and civic engagement skills in the classroom, with a strong family tie-in in which students went to the polls with their parents. When these men returned to the United States and their home state of Arizona, they started the Kids Voting program.
- Kids Voting South Dakota
In 1992, Kids Voting first came to South Dakota as part of a nationwide pilot project. In that first year, approximately 5,000 Aberdeen students participated in the program and brought their parents with them to the polls on Election Day.
Since that time, the program has grown to 80,000 students. This dramatic increase in such a short period of time can only be attributed to the hard work and dedication of South Dakota teachers, community volunteers, sponsors that support the program, and South Dakota students.
KVSD is the ONLY South Dakota voting program where the students actually have the opportunity to vote in official polling places. This is unique and special because of the support from the Secretary of State and county auditors across South Dakota.
Kids Voting South Dakota GOALS:
To educate K-12 youth about:
- The importance of becoming an informed citizen
- The responsibility of voting to sustain a democracy
- Building good citizenship skills, including: decision making, willingness to compromise, self-discipline, and respect for others
- Learning and developing through active participation to meet the needs of the community.
Kids Voting South Dakota OUTCOMES:
- Secures the future of democracy by educating and involving young people in the election process of today.
- Generates a "trickle-up" effect – that is, kids stimulating their parents to learn about citizenship voting.
- Provides a training ground for living as a proactive citizen in democracy.
- Assists students in learning and practicing social studies, communication arts, math and other “show-me” skills.
- Gives students an opportunity to learn about the three branches of government and see those branches in action—before and after the votes are counted.
- Involves as many students as possible in active citizenship education activities thereby contributing to a “revitalized democracy” that includes American youth as informed and active participants.
Research Confirms Kids Voting South Dakota Works!
Research has found that voting is a habit that must be learned early. By implementing Kids Voting South Dakota, students learn about the voting process and civic responsibility, and will more likely become informed and civic-minded adults who will take an active role in the democratic process and exercise their right to vote.
Every four years, KVSD surveys students, teachers, parents, and volunteers to determine the effectiveness of Kids Voting in our state.*
- The majority of students in grades K-8 (93.2%) reported that voting is important because it gives them choices.
- More than 85% of middle and high school students (grades 6-12) plan to vote when they turn 18.
- Teachers and volunteers surveyed (93.9%) believe KVSD was a success in their school district.
- Parents surveyed (97.1%) believe that KVSD encourages good citizenship and civic responsibility for the participants.
- Communities with KVSD showed an 8-15% higher adult voter turnout than communities without the program.
*Institute for Educational Leadership & Evaluation, 2004