While a majority of Erie and Niagara County voters picked Democrat John Kerry for president last week, kids under 18 preferred President Bush in Kids Voting balloting.
With nearly 57,000 kids in kindergarten through high school voting, Bush got 28,246 votes or 49.65 percent, while Kerry got 26,014 or 45.72 percent. Ralph Nader had 2,128 or 3.74 percent.
Meanwhile, a majority of voters in sixth grade through high school felt the United States should not have entered the war in Iraq but supported a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Kerry won the youth vote in city districts such as Buffalo (with 77.77 percent), Lackawanna and Niagara Falls, along with Amherst, Cheektowaga-Central, Ken-Ton, Maryvale, Sweet Home and Lakeshore, while Bush won huge majorities in Lockport and most suburban and rural areas.
Some 54.6 percent of middle and high school voters in Erie County said the United States should not have entered the war in Iraq; 52.45 percent of Niagara County kids said the United States was right to go to war. Since four times as many votes were cast in Erie County, Erie County carried the day.
Niagara County middle and high school students voted overwhelmingly, 70.4 percent to 29.59 percent, to support an amendment to ban same-sex marriage; Erie County also supported it but by a smaller margin, 52.3 percent to 47.7.
More than 300 schools participated -- many starting the voting after school since so many schools held regular classes on Election Day, reports Kids Voting coordinator Rosemary Sullivan.
"A record number of high school students helped," she said. At Springville-Griffith, which was part of Kids Voting for the first time, high school students did all the work on Kids Voting, she said.
Seniors from Holy Angels Academy had a full day of class and then manned Kids Voting booths in the Delaware District of Buffalo from 3 to 9 p.m., Sullivan said. Scout groups and many other volunteers helped Kids Voting go smoothly in both counties.
A presidential year is always more exciting for Kids Voting, and "a lot of schools did a lot, there were more assemblies, and teachers spent much more time on it than they usually do. Kids were really aware of what was going on," Sullivan said.
Propositions on the Kids Voting Ballot raised some controversy this year, with some districts blacking out or cutting off the last proposition: Should there be a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage?
But Sullivan noted that the questions were devised by students, who said last spring they wanted "real questions" from the national political arena on the ballot. Junior counselors at the Erie I BOCES camp for several school districts came up with the final questions in August, she said.
Questions and vote totals were:
Voters in kindergarten through fifth grade cast ballots on this proposition:
1. Should all students have art, music and physical education in the elementary grades?
Students in sixth grade to high school voted on these questions:
2. Should the draft be reinstated?
No Erie 78.7%, Niagara 79.7%
Yes Erie County 21.3%, Niagara 20.28%
3. Should we have entered the war in Iraq?
No Erie 54.64% Niagara 47.55%
Yes Erie 45.36% Niagara 52.45%
4. Should there be a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage?
Yes Erie 52.3.08%, Niagara 70.41%
No Erie 47.7%, Niagara 29.59%
Find the percentages by school district in the presidential race on Page B12 in today's Buffalo News.