Mock Election Teaches the Election Process

Bridgitte Isom

Before receiving their ballots, students had to verify that they were “registered” to vote. Voting took place on Nov. 8th, throughout the social science department. Photo by Shannon Kunkel.

Students lined up to vote for the 2016 presidential candidates and five Congressional actions during the Social Science department’s mock election held at the Preparatory Campus on Nov. 8.
The mock election echoed the atmosphere of anticipation and excitement present throughout the nation on Election Day.  Five hundred thirty students voted and displayed their “I voted!” stickers throughout the school day.  Social science students played different rolls at each “polling station,” managing the voting process and counting the ballots.
According to Social Science teacher Christopher Calvo, the mock election was met with an enthusiastic response, especially because the students had the opportunity to voice their opinions. In regards to turnout, it was “more than anticipated; there was a pretty significant percentage of the student population,” said Calvo.
Social Science teacher Gabriel Medina noted how involved everyone seemed in the process.
“I got a sense that in the hallways people were talking about the election, as well as political discussion, which is what we wanted,” said Medina.
The students running the polling stations and counting the votes agreed that they learned about the basics of the voting process through the mock election.
“It gave me insight on how polling stations are run, and good experience for the future,” said freshman Sean de Sales.
The ballot included three amendments, the two presidential candidates, and two Congressional actions. The amendments included the following: an amendment granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, an amendment that would publicly fund four years of secondary education for every American citizen, and an amendment legalizing recreational marijuana for users age 21 and older. Students also voted on whether or not the 115th Congress should declare war on Islamic State and whether or not the minimum wage should be raised to $15.00. The presidential candidates were Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
Students also learned how important it was to vote on all issues.
“Minimum wage was razor thin. One small difference teaches them how important it is to vote. Encouraging others to vote can swing the election,” said Mr. Medina.
According to Mr. Medina, the items on the ballot were determined by a committee. They focused on current, diverse issues facing the nation,  not just the presidential election.
“We picked the issues the politicians and citizens were talking about, as well as some from on the FL ballot,” said Calvo.
Raising the minimum wage passed with 51.5% of the vote. Declaring war on the Islamic State did not pass by 59%.  An amendment legalizing recreational use of marijuana with a minimum age of 21 passed by 66%. Publicly funded undergraduate education passed with 59% of the vote. An amendment providing undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship was passed by 58% of the voters. Finally, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 57%.
The results were announced the same afternoon, and were released to the faculty by Mr. Medina.