Friday, October 1, 2004

Young people urged to vote

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

The youngest secretary of state in the country, Northern Kentucky's own Trey Grayson, is trying to reach even younger people - in hopes that he can persuade them to vote.

The office of the Secretary of State is organizing a statewide mock trial Oct. 28, with results airing live on CNN. Students will vote on real issues such as the presidential race, a Senate race, and the proposed constitutional amendment. Local high schools participating are: Bellevue, Boone County, Dayton, Highlands, Holmes, Ludlow, Ryle, Villa Madonna Academy and the Northern Kentucky Learning Academy in Newport.
The 32-year-old Kentucky secretary of state from Boone County has been traveling to schools statewide to deliver a message: Register to vote.

Grayson, recently appointed vice chairman of the National Association of Secretaries of State's standing committee on voter participation, hopes to encourage more youth participation in the democratic process.

According to recent surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau, nationally, voter turnout among young adults was at 17 percent.

Grayson, a Republican, along with Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs, Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-Greenup, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, will host Summit on Civic Literacy from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Erlanger.

Westwood said the idea behind going to the schools is not just to encourage the importance of voting, but is "an opportunity to let students know how the legislature works." The gathering is part of a national effort for civic education, he said.

Westwood was one of two legislators invited to represent Kentucky at the first congressional conference on education.

It was held in Washington, D.C., last year.

"We came up with plans for how we could bring civic literacy to our areas," Westwood said.

"Tanya (Pullin) and I created a bill to hold a summit, with teachers, business leaders, legislators attending... to find ways to improve on it."

Kentucky is one of two states in the country that have done the gathering thus far.

Participants are expected to include legislators and other government officials of different branches and parties, community leaders in the state, educators, high school and college students, parents and other citizens.

Grayson said the governor is also expected to appear, despite a special session of the General Assembly on the same day.

The gathering, which takes place at the Northern Kentucky University's Metropolitan Education and Training Services Center, is open to the public, but registration is encouraged at


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