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Youngsters Cast Votes, Learn About Democracy

The Burlington Town Clerks Office held a vote for underage residents at the polls this Saturday.

It was just registered voters casting their votes on Saturday at the .

Along with the ballots for voters, the town provided ballots for residents under the voting age to teach youngsters about the democratic process. Town Clerk Amy Warfield said this was the 15th year the town had allowed children to cast a vote for their selection for town leaders.

Dr. Edward Weiner of the Burlington Board of Health was running the children poll when Patch checked in on Saturday during the election. He explained the program is a great way to inform youngsters about the voting process and get them interested in democracy.

"This is a great way to get children to learn how to vote and get them excited about voting," he said. "When they are done casting their ballot, they get a sticker just like everyone else, and the kids really like that."

Weiner said that since the town began allowing kids to cast a ballot in a special "children's election" the program has engaged youngsters and gotten them interested in voting.

"It's been a huge success," he said. "Sometimes we even have kids taking their parents to the polls. They want to vote and convince their parents that they should too. That is just what we wanted, to get them excited about democracy in action." 

Weiner said the ballots cast by the kids will be counted after the official votes are tallied and will be released within a few weeks. He said looking at the difference in results can be interesting.

"We tally up their votes just like we do with the actual votes," he said. "What's funny is that often times the results are very different."

One young voter, Sophia Hartling (pictured with story) said this election was the first time she had voted. When asked what she thought about the process, she said she enjoyed it.

"It was fun," she said.

Patch asked Hartling why she thought it was important to vote, and with only a small bit of prompting she had her answer.

"It's because that's what you do in a democracy," she said.

Patch will present the tally of the children vote once the numbers are released.

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