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Primary Scenes: Not Old Enough To Vote, But Never Too Young To Learn

Third-grade teacher Lisa Jensen takes her class on a tour of the polling place at Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest D.C.
WAMU/Martin Austermuhle
Third-grade teacher Lisa Jensen takes her class on a tour of the polling place at Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest D.C.

You have to be 18 to vote in D.C., but you can be any age to learn about voting. At least that's what Lisa Jensen thinks.

Jensen is a third grade teacher at Lafayette Elementary School in Chevy Chase, and this afternoon she took her class on a tour of Precinct 51, the polling place located in the school's gym. The visit offered the budding voters — the first election for many of them will be in 2024 — a chance to see democracy in action, something they have been learning about in the classroom.

"I came right now because we've just been learning about federal government, state government, local government, and the District's government. Last week we learned about the City Council and the mayor, how a bill becomes a law in Washington, D.C., so we came down to see how our elected officials get elected," she said.

Jensen also took advantage of the chance to cast her own ballot, though she didn't let her students see who she picked.

"It's always good to model what kids are expected to do in society. We want them to learn to be good citizens, so coming to show them that I am good citizen is very helpful," she said.

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