By Alex Bridges
Kids Voting efforts showed the region's youth sided with adults at the polls on Election Day.
Results from localities in the Northern Shenandoah Valley show youth voted much the same way their adult counterparts did. Pupils picked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties. Obama won over Romney in Winchester, according to the Kids Voting results.
The initiative aims to educate children on the election process and to encourage youth to continue voting when they turn 18.
Like other school districts, Shenandoah County saw an increase in participation during Kids Voting, according to Stacey Leitzel, director of elementary education. Leitzel said Thursday afternoon she was waiting on the results from the Strasburg voting precinct.
Minus the Strasburg vote counts, Kids Voting in Shenandoah County showed 49.8 percent for Romney and 31.3 percent for Obama. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson received 1.7 percent; Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 0.06 percent.
"We did have a wider margin between the candidates," Leitzel said. "As we were watching what was happening in Virginia I found it interesting, too, and I think so did the news broadcasters about what was happening in Virginia in certain areas, and I don't know if our kids are reflecting that as well.
"My assumption is that they are casting their vote pretty much based on maybe what they're hearing from their family members because when we talk about it in schools we're not talking in favor of one candidate or another -- we're teaching about both parties and the electoral process," Leitzel added. "So I'm assuming at the age of an elementary school child that it's probably very reflective of what their parents and what their family members are thinking."
Strasburg parent Pam Chimento organizes Kids Voting efforts countywide through volunteers such as students in the high school government classes. Members of the Strasburg Kiwanis Club also assisted in Kids Voting. Volunteers run the Kids Voting booths from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Shenandoah County encourages participation by children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Kids Voting seems to attract elementary school pupils, though this year saw some participation by middle school-aged children, according to Leitzel.
Republican Party candidate George Allen received 62.6 percent compared to Democrat Tim Kaine with 37.3 percent, according to the incomplete results from Shenandoah County. In the Sixth Congressional District race, Republican Robert "Bob" Goodlatte received 62.9 percent compared to Democrat Andy Schmookler with 37 percent.
Kids Voting of Warren County showed 1,730 student participants cast ballots, according to unofficial results provided by the effort's chairman Mike Waters. Romney received 58 percent of the student vote compared to 39 percent for Obama. Third-party candidates Virgil Goode, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein each received 1 percent, the results showed.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Party candidate George Allen received 61 percent of the votes compared to 39 percent for Democrat Tim Kaine. U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th District, received 62 percent of the votes in the congressional race, compared to Democratic Party candidate Andy Schmookler, with 38 percent.
Kids Voting in Frederick County showed that 54 percent of participants voted for Romney compared to 40 percent for Obama, according to results released Wednesday from Frederick County schools spokesman Steve Edwards. Goode, Johnson and Stein each received 2 percent of the votes, according to the results.
Allen received 59 percent of the votes compared to Kaine with 41 percent. U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th district, received 59 percent of the vote compared to Democratic Party candidate Kristin Cabral, at 29 percent, and independent J. Kevin Chisholm, with 11 percent.
Kids Voting in Frederick County saw a record turnout for the 2012 election with 6,338 students casting ballots, according to Edwards. The 2008 election drew 4,944 student participants. Last year's election saw 2,979 participants, Edwards stated.
In line with Winchester's adult voting results, pupils in the city public schools chose Obama over Romney, according to data from Steven Muller, director of technology for the district. The city's Kids Voting saw 927 voters participate. Of that number, 58 percent picked Obama compared to 38 percent for Romney. Remaining votes went to the third-party candidates, with the most to Stein.
Kaine received 56 percent of votes cast for senate in the city compared to 44 for Allen. Congressional results are: 50 percent for Wolf, 36 percent for Cabral and 11 percent for Chisholm. The race for mayor resulted in 55 percent for incumbent Liz Minor and 45 percent for Patrick Farris.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or email@example.com