Crowds gather in Durham for early voting party, parade

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Crowds parade in Durham to go vote early (WTVD)

More than a hundred future, early, and first-time voters spent some festive hours in downtown Durham on Saturday, during what organizers billed as a Party and Parade to the Polls.

Attendees gathered at the county library for family voting. The event had snacks and voting exercises for the littlest voters.

The children weighed in on issues they could understand, like early bedtimes. Flags, pinwheels, and signs were on display, along with hand drawn signs with messages about why they were voting.

We met brothers Reuben and Levi Burroughs, students at Club Boulevard Elementary School, and their mother as they left the event early. Asked why they participated, both boys responded with enthusiasm.

"So I can choose a President," said Reuben.

"So I can, like, help people," his brother Levi exclaimed.

"I want to teach my children that they have a voice," said Jessica Burroughs, "and that they can help make the world a better place. So they see me vote, and we talk a lot about the candidates."

It was, however, more than just child's play. The children stepped into kid-sized voting booths, with ballots that showed actual candidates for office in Durham as well as those running for president.

The event was founded and organized by Kids Voting Durham and NC MomsRising and it was co-sponsored by You Can Vote and the Durham Association of Educators.

Organizers provided a voter's guide and information about voter IDs. Critics of that requirement say it could suppress the vote in North Carolina.

"Especially with the situation with IDs here in this state, there are a lot of voters who don't quite speak English yet," said voter Sheila Arias. "So there's a lot of obstacles to overcome but there's also a lot of organizations trying to smooth out this situation."

When the rally ended outside the Durham County Board of Elections, several people filed inside and took advantage of early voting. One of them, high school student Shirley Garret, registered when she turned 18. She spoke to the crowd before the march, and afterwards spoke with ABC11.

"Voting is so important to me, and it's even more important because it's local voting," Garrett said. "And I understand that's what affects me the most."

Organizers hope more voters of all ages will follow the first time voter's lead between now and March 15, primary day for the presidential elections in North Carolina.

Related Topics:
politicsvotingvoter infomationelectionDurham
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