And the winner is ...
This year, the East Central students participated, along with many other school districts across the state, in the Minnesota Students Vote 2016. This was the first year the school did a mock vote. High School Social Studies Teacher Todd Lindstrom organized the mock election for the upcoming presidential election on November 8. The goal was to give the students an authentic voting experience.
Students lined up last week on Tuesday, October 25, to register their name and confirm their address in the voting district. After they signed in, they were met with a greeter who gave them voting instructions, handed them a ballot and ushered them into a private voting area. They would then return their ballot to be placed in a secure ballot envelope. After the voting process, they received their “my vote my voice” sticker and went about their day.
“We felt it was important to provide the students with the experience of voting for the President of the United States of America,” said Lindstrom. “They would have the opportunity for their voice to be heard and experience how significant their one vote is and the impact it can have on an election outcome.” He added that the students also did an analysis of how their class vote compared to other school districts throughout the state.
Prior to the vote, Lindstrom stated that the students viewed presidential debates and analyzed the candidates in class. “The students in my classes have had great dialogue and strong opinions regarding the candidates and the overall voting process,” said Lindstrom. “The students took it very seriously, were educated and informed about the candidates, and understood the basic ideologies and platforms each brought to the forefront. I was very pleased with how smoothly the process went and the overall positive feedback and impacts it had for all involved.”
Nickolaus Shaffer, a 10th Grade student said of the mock election, “I think the lack of publicity for other candidates gave some students a tunnel vision. Through the mock election, I learned that to be an informed citizen you must do your own research on the candidates and other third party candidates.”
“It was pretty cool to see a real ballot. There was a little bit of chaos with everybody arguing about who's better a candidate,” said sophomore Deanna Metz. “But mostly everybody just had their minds set on Donald Trump. This mock election helped show me how a real election would be, like how to go through it and what you need for identification and such. We also needed to have information on our candidates to know which one to choose.”
High school sophomore, Sofia Seibert, said of the mock vote, “This experience will help me for in the future when I have to cast an actual vote. Now I'll be able to walk into the voting place and know what to expect and how to properly vote.”
Erin Gamst, a high school student, said, “This activity informed me about almost everything I may have previously had questions on.”
The results of the student election were:
1st - Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence carried 44% of popular vote
2nd - Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine carried 22% of popular vote
3rd - Evan McMullin and Nathan Johnson (Independence Party) carried 13% of popular vote
The remaining percentage of votes were spread out through the remaining political parties on the ballot.