Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Justices Promote Kids Voting Initiative

Image of the Kids Voting Ohio Logo

Image of the Kids Voting Ohio Logo

Ohio voter turnout is lowest from ages 18 to 19.

That’s why six Ohio Supreme Court justices taped video messages supporting an initiative to teach children citizenship and encourage voting when they turn 18.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer, Pat DeWine, Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart shared their personal stories and advice for Kids Voting Ohio.

“As students, you have a duty to become an engaged and informed citizen of your community, your state, and your country,” Chief Justice O’Connor told the students. “Study hard, learn all you can, and remember that as a citizen, you have a duty to not only know about your government but to actively participate.”

Kids Voting Ohio is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that serves Ohio schools through voter education and preparedness by promoting civic engagement and family and community communication about citizenship.

“With your vote, you choose the men and women who will serve you at every level of government, setting the direction of our state and America,” Justice Kennedy said in her video. “As you travel through your own life, keep an eye out for the emerging opportunities life gives you. When the road not taken emerges, take it. Never look back and wonder, what if?”

Justice Patrick Fischer touted the importance of voting in judicial races.

“When you are older and voting, please do research on the judges,” he said. “What we do is important to everybody. There are all sorts of cases that we oversee. Who gets adopted? Who has custody? Does somebody go to jail or stay out of jail? These are just a few examples of matters we decide.”

Justice Pat DeWine encouraged the students to become engaged.

“Different civic initiatives always need people who can help out,” he said. “If there are those things in your community that you want to do – and do things that you like – I’ve always found in my career that I did things I cared about.  The rest took care of itself.”

Justice Donnelly told the students that criminal justice reform is essential.

“We’re working on policies right now that would help people who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated -- something that I would consider one of the worst forms of injustice in our society,” Justice Donnelly said. “Criminal justice reform is something that needs to be embraced by every public official,” he said, so that “all the systems in our society are transparent and open so citizens can have confidence in our institutions.”

Justice Stewart stressed the importance of registering to vote.

“You’ll want to be a part of such an awesome, collective power when deciding who should serve as elected officials in all branches of our government,” Justice Stewart said. “Write down when you’ll become 18, and look forward to getting registered as soon as you turn 18. It’s quick. It’s free.  And it’s your right.”