Burlington activist, 12, getting national attention

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Like most 12-year-olds on Halloween, Madison Kimrey was brainstorming costume ideas for trick-or-treating.

"I was going to be Belatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter," she told FOX8’s Carter Coyle. "But I just ran out of time to get the costume together."

Unlike the average high school freshman, Kimrey is balancing holiday fun with national television interviews and speeches about voting rights.

"The people from Moral Monday said they were having an Alamance County one and they'd love me to speak and I was like, woah! Yes, yes, yes!" Kimrey recalled.

Turns out her youthful passion is contagious. Video of her speech from StoriesOfAmerica.org has gone viral on YouTube, with more than 140,000 views and counting. An online petition she started has more than 13,000 signatures.

"The ability of 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register and automatically be added to the voter rolls when they turned 18 ended on September 1st," she explained in her speech. "I will not stand silent while laws are passed to reduce the amount of voter turnout by young people in my home state."

Earlier this summer, Kimrey asked for a sit-down discussion with Governor Pat McCrory.

"I wanted to meet with our Governor to discuss pre-registration. But he called my request to meet with him ‘ridiculous' and called me a 'prop' for liberal groups," Kimrey said in the speech.

Kimrey told FOX8 she still entertains hopes of talking to the Governor one day and continues to spread a message about the Voter ID legislation with which she disagrees.

Kimrey emphasized that he was not a mouthpiece for her parents or liberal groups, and said she has been intrigued by politics her whole life.

She said she remembers memorizing names and positions of senators and political leaders on flash cards she asked her parents to buy when she was young.

"My grandparents are conservative Republicans," Kimrey pointed out, calling their sometimes heated disagreements "creative discussions." She said she's been exposed to various viewpoints but finds herself aligning with liberal politics.

The recent national attention is a bit overwhelming, Kimrey admitted, and her mother joked she has school work to catch up on because of her recent activist roles.

Kimrey said one good thing about being homeschooled was having a flexible schedule so she can be involved in politics.

When asked if the interest was inspiring because of her message or because of her age, Kimrey said, "I really want them to not be focusing on the fact that I'm 12, but more on the fact that I'm trying to change what's happening in my home state."

She's set her eyes on more than state legislation. "I'm going to start another petition. And it is going to be to try to get a federal pre-registration law passed," she shared.

Her message is not only about young voters; it is to them. "Young people- pay attention," she said in her speech Monday. "Find the issues that are important to you and take action."

And as for Halloween, Kimrey expects to pull together a "scary doll" costume and trick-or-treat with her friends.

Join FOX8 Morning News at 6 a.m. to hear more from Madison Kimrey in a live interview on Friday, Nov. 1.


  • Nature Boy

    Young adults who want to vote will register when they turn 18. They didn’t have pre-registration back in my day. If I was McCrory, I wouldn’t have met with her either. If he did, he would spend every day meeting with every 12 year old in the state.

    • wesgrogan

      Just because you were incapable of thinking independently when you were twelve doesn’t mean that all 12 year olds are incapable of it. Don’t judge her capability and awesomeness by your own short-comings and faults. It might make you feel better, but it doesn’t make you right.

      • LBA

        AMEN!!! Well said!! Why can’t people understand that just because THEY weren’t brilliant, mature and amazing at 12 doesn’t mean Madison isn’t??

  • Fred

    She started out puking anti-abortion. Now she is voter rights. Sounds like her parents have an axe to grind, not little Kimrey.

    • Karen Turner

      Actually…you are all wrong…I know the young lady personally. She is a very intelligent, very independent young women who speaks her own mind & not that of her parents.

      I’m sorry if you think that some 12 years can’t question things on their own and form their own opinions. That’s a pretty narrow minded in my opinion. I know people much older than her that can’t form a complete thought on their own and wouldn’t even have a clue regarding many of the issues today. I think she is doing a fantastic job voicing her concerns about what is going on in our state.

  • david wright

    Typical Clusterfox comments. I know this young lady and her parents. a “prop.” Wrong. She is the real deal. The GOPigs need to be afraid of this young lady. Very, very afraid…

  • LBA

    Think what you want, she is a force to be reckoned with with a mind of her own. She’ll make a difference in the world.

  • Joe Sipe

    so these liberals think a 12 year old sits around thinking about things like this. of course her parents have an agenda their planting it in this young persons head. dear best friends, I mean parents, get her a doll and let her be a kid.

  • Kathy Shoffner

    When this twelve year old starts working and paying taxes then I will be willing to listen to what she has to say. Quite frankly, I am tired of working and so much of my income going to taxes to pay for people who’s only agenda is to have babies so the hard working people pay can raise them. If you chose to be a single mother then you need to be able to take care of your kid without help.

      • Lila Little

        I know her too ~ articulate, focused young lady ~ even her Mom is blown away sometimes by what she comes up with – AND she is friends with my granddaughter….she just ROCKS! Haters can get over themselves…

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