Every spring the Supervisor of Elections office partners with public and private schools to conduct elections for the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award (SSYRA) and Florida Readers Association (FRA) reading programs. Students must read at least three books from the reading lists to be eligible to participate in the voting program.
In addition to voting on the voting machines, online voting was offered this year for the first time. Instead of voting using the touch screen voting machines, some schools opted to vote online using their schools computers. Next year, all schools throughout the county will vote using the on-line voting program.
This year over 1,300 students cast their vote for their favorite book. Students were rewarded with a certificate, a pencil and a “Kids Vote Too” sticker. The purpose of this program is to encourage students to read on their own with the ultimate goal of improving their reading ability. In addition to these wonderful benefits, the Supervisor of Elections office strives to encourage voting from a young age. Fellsmere Media Specialist Karen Newkirk’s thank you note said it best, “I still have middle and high school children come back to visit me from time to time and they always say, ‘Remember when we got to vote for our favorite book on REAL machines?’ ”
This year is the last time the touch screen voting machines will be used for student voting programs. Indian River County has purchased a new voting system, which the Elections Office will debut during the November 7, 2017 Municipal Elections.