With mock voter registration cards in hand, Merriwether Elementary School pupils, teachers and other school employees lined up to cast their vote in the school’s mock presidential election Oct. 31.
Pupils from the gifted and talented classes checked the voters’ registration cards and directed them to the line to cast their vote electronically or by paper ballot. In a couple of cases, would-be voters had to be turned away because they did not have their voter-registration card.
Once their votes were cast, voters received “I voted” stickers to proudly display.
The school’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade gifted and talented classes have held mock presidential elections during the past few presidential elections, said Paula Robinson, one of the gifted and talented teachers.
“They have been studying elections and the process since school started,” she said.
The pupils learned how elections got their start, what an election involves, the Electoral College and discussed the platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties.
There were also discussions on political cartoons, media influence and issues being raised in this year’s presidential election.
“We studied in-depth,” said Robinson. “We covered everything that an educated voter would know.”
In preparing for the mock presidential election, pupils held an oratory competition to decide who would portray President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in the school’s mock presidential election.
Once the pupils were chosen, they wrote speeches based on the research of the party’s platform and held rallies.
Posters decorated the hallways throughout the school leading up to the mock election.
“The students had to substantiate what they said with facts,” said gifted and talented teacher Ernie Murray of the mock presidential campaigns. “They learned they have to be accountable for what they say.”
Brooklyn Thompson worked as a poll worker during the mock presidential election.
“I’ve learned that when you’re in the voting booth, how you vote is secretive and private,” said the 10-year-old.
Making the mock presidential election campaign realistic was important to helping pupils learn about civic responsibility, said assistant principal Patty Gibbs.
“It goes along with our curriculum and standards,” she said.
“It gives the children an opportunity to see and experience the process that their parents experience.”
There were 700 votes cast in the election. Romney won with 460 votes.
The school will have an inauguration ceremony in January.