This City Votes Contest Encourages Students to Speak Up

Summit Education Initiative distributed the following press release on Aug. 16, 2016.

The importance of voting is in focus for a county-wide video contest launching this month.

The Akron Beacon Journal, the Jefferson Center and Summit Education Initiative are working together on the project in an effort to highlight voting and politics in a positive light. They’re enlisting kids to submit humorous, insightful and creative videos to accomplish that goal.

vote-1319435_1280“Summit County is the first location to host a contest of this kind,” said Andrew Rockway, program director at the Jefferson Center.

Students age 5 through 17 are encouraged to submit 90-second-or-less videos of themselves talking about topics such as, “Why is voting so important?”; “Which issues are important to you that you want adults to care about?”; and “What are reasons people don’t vote, and how can you change their minds?” (Parents are also encouraged to get involved by discussing such topics with their children and helping them submit the videos online.)

The Akron Beacon Journal’s news website,, will post some of the videos with politics stories to promote conversation about the election.

“Ohio always is the epicenter of some of the nation’s ugliest campaigning, and it’s tiring,” said Managing Editor Doug Oplinger. “Our hope is that the spirited voice of young people will help us wade through the noise, remain steady as participants in democracy and cast a meaningful vote in November.”

While some classrooms and out of school time providers will incorporate video recording into their established curriculum topics related to civility and voting, any student living in Summit County may submit up to three videos on his or her own.

Participants may submit videos via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ThisCityVotes16. The participant’s social media account must be public to officially enter the contest; otherwise, the contest accepts submissions directly at

Voting also takes place at the link. The general public will select three winners, one from each of the following age groups: kindergarten through third grade, fourth through eighth grade and ninth through 12th grade. Each popular choice winner will receive $100, and the Akron Beacon Journal will select three additional winners (one from each age group above) to win $150 each.

Community members may submit up to one vote per day.

This City Votes is a civility project of This City Reads!, a county-wide, year-round effort and commitment to improve literacy skills for all residents in Summit County. Read more about This City Reads! and its 2016 – 2017 theme, civility, at