Kids have been standing with their parents in early voting lines and will be seen at many precincts today, as parents teach, by example, about the importance of voting. Kim Sleezer, a middle school teacher in the Linn-Mar District, says she started taking her own kids to political events when they were very young and talking about issues.

“Not so much who to vote for, but that it was important to be educated on issues. I’m from a military family and it’s important we all do our part, not as Republican or Democrat, but as an American,” she says, “and so we tried to teach our children that it’s important to know what you’re voting for and then who you’re voting for, that they support that.”

Sleezer admits when her kids were little, they “weren’t always excited” about going to

“But as they’ve gotten older they’ve started to really appreciate it’s not just the Election Day that matters, it’s everything that leads up to that point,” Sleezer says, “and because I’m a teacher I just feel honored to be able to teach that…to teach my own students to be involved and be educated and know what you’re voting for.”

Sleezer is excited that her son, who is a freshman at Iowa State University, voted for the first time with an absentee ballot. Her 16-year-old daughter, Addy got permission from the principal at Linn-Mar High School in Marion to put up posters she made about voting.

“Politics are important and not a lot of people at the high school realize that,” Abby Sleezer says, “and people should get involved as early as they can because it’ll impact you in a few years, too.”

According to NextGen Iowa, a group that’s worked to increase turn-out among younger voters, at least 30 percent of the 18- and 19-year-old Iowans who’ve registered to vote for the first time have already voted. State records show 38 percent of Iowa voters under the age of 24 cast ballots in 2018. The group’s calculations indicate at least 100,000 of the “early” ballots cast in Iowa this year have been from voters under the age of 35.