Casting their votes earlyIt’s never too early to practice voting. At least that’s the idea behind two mock elections that took place at Red Wing elementary schools Tuesday.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
It’s never too early to practice voting.
At least that’s the idea behind two mock elections that took place at Red Wing elementary schools Tuesday.
“Students (learned) that they will have the right to vote and that each one of their votes counts and matters to the results of the election,” said Rachel Hansen, who organized the mock election at St. John’s Lutheran Elementary School.
“I remember as a student myself participating in a mock election at my grade school, how important I felt and how exciting it was,” she said.
At both St. John’s and Sunnyside Elementary School, students cast their ballots for either President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney.
With just two choices and one box to check, Hansen said the students’ ballots were “much simpler than ours.”
Still, Hanson said, she tried to keep the mock election authentic.
St. John’s first-graders through eighth-graders, as well as St. John’s staff members, took part in the election. As they entered the polling place set up in the school basement Tuesday, their first step was to register, which they did by placing a check mark next to their name on a list.
Then, they received their ballots, waited in line for a booth to open, marked their choice and turned in their ballots. The final step was getting an “I voted” sticker.
“My goal is to keep this election process as close to the real election as possible,” Hansen said.
At Sunnyside, the polling place was set up in the school’s lobby, where the students registered, voted, turned in their ballots and received their stickers.
To coincide with their Election Day activities, St. John’s students learned about the election in their classes, as well. The youngest students colored patriotic pictures while the older students researched both candidates.
“They looked at the candidate's websites, the parties they are representing and analyzing each party's political views,” Hansen said.
Once the polls closed at both schools, the votes were tallied. At St. John’s, Romney won by a landslide, with 54 votes to Obama’s 12. Results at Sunnyside were reversed, with Obama taking 262 votes to Romney’s 123.
For Hansen, however, the results weren’t as important as what the students took away from their first voting experience.
“This will give these students a better chance to understand each part of the process,” she said.