CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Fifth-graders across New Hampshire are heading to the polls this week to elect the state’s next “Kid Governor.”

This is the second year the state has participated in a national civics program aimed at encouraging civic engagement by teaching students about the history of voting rights, the qualities of good leaders and the mechanics of campaigns. More than 450 students in six New Hampshire schools participated last year, selecting Lola Giannelli, of Nashua, as their first Kid Governor.

She’s spent the last year promoting efforts to protect animals from abuse. The seven candidates hoping to succeed her have platforms that include topics such as bullying, underage tobacco use and college and career awareness.

Voting starts Monday and ends Nov. 12.

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