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Election program puts funds to good use

Nov. 2, 2004

By EDITORIAL STAFF

Wisconsin Republicans are criticizing a public school's "get-out-the-vote" campaign, in which students between the ages of 11 and 18 years old are taking time from regular classes to go door to door in minority neighborhoods and other areas with typically low voter turnouts, encouraging people to vote.

The students, who have all received parental permission to participate in the campaign also use phone banks to reach out to their community. Larry Marx, co-executive director of the group sponsoring the campaign -- the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund -- asserts that the program is entirely bipartisan, despite the fact that the WCAF, has endorsed Sen. John Kerry. The campaign doesn't support any particular party or candidate -- its goal is simply to encourage as many people to vote as possible.

Wisconsin State Republican Party Spokesman Chris Leto called the campaign "a disgraceful use of taxpayer money."

The Lariat editorial board disagrees with the Republican stance. We believe the bipartisan promotion of participation is one of the best ways to spend taxpayer money.

Also, the program fosters a sense of the importance of government participation among students involved, regardless of the fact that most are not yet old enough to vote themselves.

The program is a good idea and a great initiative for everyone involved and deserves the support and even praise of the country's political community.

If, after all, young people are the future, how can one undermine the value of teaching them the importance of individual involvement in the political system?

It seems the Republican Party fears the campaign is designed to promote the election of Democratic nominee Kerry, which explains the adverse reaction.

The Lariat editorial board believes the program is indeed bipartisan and, as such, a great initiative toward encouraging voter participation among those demographics that are least likely to vote.

Editorial Board 5-0