If left up to the decision of McPherson USD 418 elementary students, Republican Mitt Romney would have limited Barack Obama’s presidency to four years.
The four area schools hosted their own mock elections Tuesday, using smaller ballots and make-shift voting booths. Three of the four schools — Lincoln, Eisenhower and Roosevelt — announced it was the GOP candidate they preferred in the White House.
“It’s a good opportunity because some schools don’t get to vote,” Lincoln fifth-grader Avery Howard said, who watched the presidential debates on TV. “I think it’s cool since we’re not old enough to actually vote.”
Lincoln’s election was run by second graders, who provided a registration table, gave ballots (which included the two names, their photo and a picture of their party’s symbol), created cardboard voting booths with patriotic decorations, and passed out stickers and candy.
“It feels kind of fun because you get to vote for a president and it’s the first time in the world you get to vote pretty much,” second-grader Cooper Bruce said.
Although some might think they are too young to understand politics, classmate Aimee Leblance said this is not true.
“I’ve learned about it,” she said, adding it will help her with the voting process in the future. “We have the experience.”
Prior to Tuesday, the students researched the candidates and their views, hung voting posters and completed assignments declaring what they would do if they were elected president.
“There’s a lot of different kid-friendly information about the race out there,” second-grade teacher JoRae Myers said, adding her class watched videos of other children’s reaction to the debate and read information from websites that gave simplistic facts about the candidates. “It’s been beneficial for them to know voting is a right and not a privilege, and we should make sure we use it as citizens. They are so excited about knowing about something that adults discuss. I think they think they’re part of something in their world they’re often left out of.”
Fifth-grader Aden Hultberg said he based his voting decision on taxes.
“Sometimes people are either a good influence or a bad influence,” he said. “(Voters) just need to think of what they want. You can just vote for the person who you think is best.”
In addition to voting on a president, Eisenhower students voted on their favorite cookie. Third graders in Carmen Zeisler’s class gave persuasive speeches about which one they thought was the best. After a taste test, the voter’s spoke, declaring Double Stuf Oreos as the winner.
Page 2 of 2 - “I feel like it is a super way to teach the election process that is super engaging,” Zeisler said.
Lincoln principal Jana Koehn said she thought the day’s process was overall educational for area students.
“I think because of this, kids are more aware of who the candidates are and what politics are when it’s discussed,” Koehn said.