While we know the voting age is 18, there are some places where children do get a say in who they think should be the next president. One of those paces is Nickelodeon’s “Kids Pick the President” mock elections. The children’s network ran the poll from October 20th to 26th under guidelines that allowed one vote to be counted per household, and the winner was … Joe Biden (via Just Jared). The winners were announced both in a TV special that aired earlier this week and on social media. Variety says that of the 90,000 votes cast during the period, Biden had received 53 percent of the Kids Vote, while Donald Trump had 47 percent.
But even these polls didn’t come without some controversy, because Nickelodeon said its election activity was targeted with what it called fraudulent votes. In a statement, the network noted: “Nickelodeon detected cheating on Wednesday, Oct. 21, when threads on online forums began discussing corrupting the Kids Pick the President site with fraudulent votes. Subsequently, more than 130,000 bot-generated votes were detected. Nickelodeon utilized a voter certification tool to identify these votes and to remove them, ensuring that only individually placed votes counted toward the total” (via Vanity Fair).
Nickelodeon has held a presidential kids vote since 1988
Nickelodeon launched the activity in 1988, and since that time, it has accurately predicted the results in all but two races: In 2004, children picked John Kerry over incumbent George W. Bush; and in 2016, they selected Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. In the past, candidates were also asked to address child-specific issues that include, “Do you care about kids,” “What do you think about wars,” “What are you going to do about poverty,” and “Are you really gonna help the country” (via The Washington Post).
The activity might seem gimmicky, but it is an indicator that shows rising political awareness among first-time, would-be voters. Business Insider recently shed light on a Gen-Z super PAC on TikTok called MemePAC, which is run by a group of politically savvy 17- to 19-year-olds, and which has more than 300,000 followers. “TikTok worked so well for us because it has a huge base of youth and loves comedy — the exact audience our PAC is built upon,” one of the superPAC’s founders, Jackie Ni, says. And fun fact — MemPAC has more followers than The Lincoln Project.
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