Kids Voting: USA

Kids Voting USA (KVUSA) was founded in 1987 to get students involved in the processes of democracy and to help them become educated, engaged citizens. In the KVUSA program, students learn about democracy through a combination of classroom activities, family dialogue, and an authentic voting experience. Their “fieldwork” of visiting the polls 1) allows them to see democratic practices at work, 2) inspires their parents to vote, and 3) establishes and reinforces voting behavior when they themselves turn 21.

The Wausau School District’s KVUSA chapter has been running mock elections in Wausau-area high school social studies classes over the past 12 years. WIPPS has partnered with KVUSA by team-teaching deliberative forums in the social studies classes in non-election years to improve critical thinking skills and encourage civic engagement when students become adult citizens. In addition, the infrastructure of the WIPPS Teachers’ Institute will be strengthened by having high school social studies teachers involved in classroom forums, and teachers will be motivated to participate in the annual WIPPS moderator development workshops.

KVUSA and WIPPS share office space in the UW Center for Civic Engagement.