Durham students voice their choice in local elections

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 10:06 PM

More than 4,500 of Durham’s students voiced their vote for mayor and City Council in Kids Voting Durham Elections during early voting, in schools, and at precincts on Election Day. 
Like adults, the young people overwhelmingly re-elected Mayor Bill Bell, giving him 73 percent of their votes, as well as Ward I Council Representative Cora Cole-McFadden who ran unopposed.  However, students expressed a different opinion when it came to City Council Ward II and III where they favored Omar Beasley (65 percent) over opponent Eddie Davis (35 percent) and challenger Pam Karriker (64 percent) over incumbent Don Moffitt (36 percent).
Students also differed in their turnout for local elections from the adults with only slightly fewer voicing their vote in the 2013 Election as did in last year’s presidential election.  By contrast adult voting turnout in Durham dropped to 10 percent from 70 percent in 2012. Many students expressed their view that city government has as much, if not more, direct effect on their lives as our national officials.
Among the youth, 68 percent reported that they discussed the 2013 candidates and issues in their classrooms, while less than 20 percent said they discussed them with their families.  Asked to identify the issues most important to them, young people indicated schools, jobs, and safety and crime were most relevant.
On Election Day many of the polls were run by youth from groups including Yo: Durham, Shepard Middle School, Durham Youth Council, and other volunteer groups.   Ballots were tallied on Election Night by Measurement, Inc. which has generously donated staff time and scanning technology for the last decade to insure the students’ votes are counted as quickly as the adult vote. Apperson Printing provides pro bono printing of Kids Voting Durham’s ballots.
You can view full results of Durham youth voting at www.kidsvotingdurham.org and individual school results also are available.
Kids Voting Durham is a program of the Durham County Cooperative Extension and is an affiliate of Kids Voting USA and Kids Voting NC.

Here are the results of the kids’ voting.

Mayor – William V. “Bill” Bell, 3,049 (79%); Sylvester Williams, 1,144 (27%)

City Council Ward 1 – Cora Cole-McFadden; 3,873 (100%)

City Council Ward 2 – Eddie Davis, 1,470 (35%); Omar Beasley 2,680 (65%)

City Council Ward 3 – Don Moffitt, 1,477 (36%); Pam Karriker, 2,631 (64%)

What three issues are most important to you?

Scools, 31%; jobs, 25%; safety and crime, 24%; homelessness, 12%; substance abuse, 14%; environment, 13%; health, 10%; animals, 9%; youth development, 9%; hunger, 8%; equality, 6%; parks, 5%; art, 3%.