Unaka Elementary holds mock Presidential election

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  A student casts his ballot in the mock Presidential Election at Unaka Elementary School on Monday.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
A student casts his ballot in the mock Presidential Election at Unaka Elementary School on Monday.

Voters across the country will head to the polls to cast ballots in the Presidential election today, but students at Unaka Elementary School cast their votes Monday in the school’s mock election.
Students in every class at the school were given the chance to take part in the American tradition and each given a single vote to cast in the election.
“We wanted the kids to be able to experience something their parents and grandparents would be talking about,” Principal Jaclyn Wilson said.
The mock election was coordinated by Unaka Elementary teacher Michelle Lovelace. Leading up to Monday’s vote, Lovelace said teachers had talked with the students about the election process as part of their classroom work.
For the election, Wilson’s office was transformed into a polling location and decorated in red, white, and blue with patriotic music playing in the background.
Each student was given a small red ticket that said “vote” on it. After entering the polling place, each student placed their vote ticket in the box of the candidate they wanted.
“I think it’s really good for them to feel like they actually voted,” Lovelace said of the decision to use the vote tickets for the students.
There were four boxes on the table for the children to choose from — Republican nominee Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and independent candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Lovelace said all of the independent candidates were not included because they didn’t want to overwhelm the students, particularly the younger ones, but they did want to recognize it was not just Trump and Clinton on the ballot.
Each candidate box featured not only the candidate’s name but also their picture to assist the students in identifying their choice.
“We wanted to make sure, especially for the younger ones, that they had pictures to make sure they cast the vote they intended,” Lovelace said.
As the students entered the polling place on Monday morning some knew right away who they wanted to vote for and quickly dropped their vote ticket into a box, while others took a moment to look over the candidates before making a final decision.
When the students exited the polls, they were given a sticker proclaiming “I voted” just as today’s voters will receive.
After all the votes were cast, the school’s election officials tallied the ballots and declared Trump the winner. Of the 269 student ballots cast, Trump captured 190 — or 70.6 percent — of the votes to Clinton’s 58 votes. Johnson received 13 votes and Stein garnered 8 votes.

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