A West Hartford second-grader wanted to be sure kids could vote, so she set up a ballot box in front of her house where kids can come vote.
By Mackenzie McDonald
When 7-year-old West Hartford resident Cara Toscano found out kids couldn’t vote, she knew that something had to be done.
Cara, who is a second-grader at Aiken Elementary School, wasted no time in launching her own local initiative: a voting box made specifically for kids, where the children of West Hartford can cast their ballots for the upcoming presidential election.
“I found out that kids couldn’t vote, and I got a little bit upset about that,” Cara said. “So I decided to make my own election where kids could vote, too. Right when I heard that kids couldn’t vote, I got straight to work.”
Cara’s said her desire to vote was first sparked when she found out “something terrible” – the fact that some children are being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
With the help of her parents and her younger brother Chase, 5, Cara set up a voting box at the end of her family’s driveway, located on the corner of Sycamore Road and Sycamore Lane.
Like many political activists, Cara persevered through initial setbacks.
“I had to make a new voting box, because the first one went missing,” she explained.
At this point, her mom, Cassandra, broke in to clarify. “It went missing inside the house,” the older Toscano said with a laugh. “The first box went missing inside the house, not outside.”
Once the second box was complete, the kids’ voting operation was up-and-running. Over the past month, Cara’s creation has proved to be an enormous success.
“Kids from all across West Hartford are stopping by,” Cassandra Toscano said. “It’s far enough from the house that we can wave and social distance and still say hi to everybody.”
The voting box has also been a hit in Cara’s second-grade classroom. Her classmates will be casting their votes on Nov. 2.
Kids aren’t the only ones who have gotten wind of Cara’s mission, though. Over the weekend, Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates personally reached out to the Toscano family to commend Cara for her hard work.
“Cara is a real leader,” Bates said. “She’s reminding us all of the most important truth of our democracy – that every voice should be heard. Her idealism is just what we all need in these challenging times.”
To honor her commitment to civic engagement, Bates will be presenting Cara with a citation from the Secretary.
“It’s really awesome,” Cassandra Toscano said of Cara receiving a citation. “He [Bates] wanted to thank the kids for stirring up excitement about voting.”
She added that she and her husband, Christopher, have been amazed at the outpouring of support the kids’ voting box has received.
“We were surprised how excited everyone was,” she said. “It made us think that even if you think someone’s done it before, maybe give it a try anyway. People seem to have been really happy about it.”
For Cara, who looks up to George Washington and dreams of running for president herself one day, the kids’ voting box is just the beginning. When asked if she plans to set up another voting box for future elections, Cara replied, “I think I will.”
As for the results of the kids’ election, Cara will be tabulating the votes after the Aiken students cast their ballots, and her mom will be sharing the results on Facebook.
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