Josh Kurtz, Co-Founder and Editor of Maryland Matters, joined us for Kids for Kids LIVE to talk about the upcoming ballot. Maryland Matters is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news site dedicated to getting the news out about issues important to Marylanders, including "education and transportation, poverty and health care, energy and the environment, the business community and organized labor, and of course, politics." While everyone knows the presidential election appears on the ballot, many people do not know what other items are on the ballot - including elections for local judges and school boards, and ballot measures such as legislatively referred constitutional amendments.
Here is what we learned from our interactive conversation with Josh Kurtz:
Voters should be informed!
"Voting is a precious right and a responsibility - from the top of the ballot to the bottom." shared author Karen Leggett.
Voters need to take the role seriously.
Kids felt that voters should be able to (1) take responsibility for making important decisions, and (2) discern between political spin and fact.
State and local governments matter.
"Everything the government does has an impact on your life, no matter if it is big or small, it is important. Everybody should have a say in how our government works. You can't if you aren't following or paying attention." - Josh Kurtz
The ballot affects kids.
Everything on the ballot affects children in some way. "For example, the Board of Education sets policies about how our schools are runs and sets budgets for how money gets distributed." - Josh Kurtz
Modeling a commitment to voting and curiosity about candidates and issues, helps kids see their connection to the ballot. More info here.
Political journalism can be a philanthropic act.
"Fewer and fewer people are paying attention to state government and politics which is why I started Maryland Matters. Reporters like me are detectives for the people. We are figuring out what is going on so that residents know what is going on." - Josh Kurtz