There was an election Saturday — one that will not settle big issues like education funding or trade wars, but one that featured tight races on important questions for kids.
In each of four ballot questions, voter turnout was about 43 percent of eligible voters. Voters were children eight and under who attended KidFEST by United Way, an annual event dedicated to children that were at Slate Creek Elementary April 7. Just like the event, polls were open for two hours.
"It was fun," said Rick Piepho, the Harvey County Clerk. "It started out as the partnership with the Informed Women of Harvey County. ... A lot of the kids got to vote on the machines like their parents do."
Voters awarded the title of favorite snack to Ice Cream. The cones bested candy and pizza by just two votes. The title of the favorite holiday went to Christmas, with 56.9 percent of the vote. Second was Halloween with 29.76 percent. The favorite color was won by Purple, just two votes ahead of Blue.
The only landslide on the ballot was asking children up to age eight to pick between two dates as to when Kansas became a state. Jan. 29, 1861 defeated July 4, 1776, 71 to 28 percent.
Children were able to cast their votes via electronic voting booth or paper ballot — just as their parents do during a regular election. Saturday kids also had the option of voting by jelly bean — and about half of voters chose that option.
"We could give them a jelly bean for each question," Piepho said. ".. I was not sure how it was going to work out, but I am always excited to get people of any age exposed to voting."
KidFEST moved to a new venue this year, Slate Creek Elementary, and then contended with a cold, windy day. There was snow on the ground and ice on sidewalks when the event began.
"I think it was a good turnout," said Tina Payne, director of United Way. "I talked to one mom who said 'We are here because of the weather. They are going to want to sit around and get screen time all afternoon. I told them we are getting out this morning.'"
Children were welcomed to a cafeteria and gymnasium filled with activities. The event concluded with an egg hunt by Newton Young Professionals. This was the first year the clerk's office and Informed Women of Harvey County were a part of the event.
"I would like to be engaged more at events like this," Piepho said. "I plan to do it again next year."
KidsFEST election results
Favorite color votes/percentage
Puple 22 22.19
Blue 20 23.81
Red 17 20.24
Green 13 15.48
Yellow 8 9.52
Orange 4 4.76
Total votes 84
Favorite snack votes/percentage
Ice Cream 23 27.38
Candy 21 25
Pizza 21 25
Fruit 14 16.67
Cereal 5 5.95
Favorite holiday votes/percentage
Christmas 31 36.9
Halloween 25 29.76
Easter 17 20.24
July 4 11 13.9
Total votes 84
Kansas statehood votes/percentage
Jan. 29, 1861 58 71.6
July 4, 1776 23 28.4
Total votes 81