Just because Tyler Watkins is 8 years old doesn’t mean his voice wasn’t heard in this year’s election. Along with every other Highland …
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Just because Tyler Watkins is 8 years old doesn’t mean his voice
wasn’t heard in this year’s election. Along with every other
Highland Elementary School student, he cast his vote for president
and a number of ballot issues.
The questions posed to the kids did have a slightly different
For one, the presidential ticket included not just Sen. McCain
and Sen. Obama but also a choice for Mickey Mouse to be the next
president, with Donald Duck second in command.
That’s who 8-year-old Kai Krizman voted for, summing up the
voting process in one word — fun.
“Overall, they’re taking it pretty seriously,” said librarian
Gretchen Platt. “They’ve been discussing the issues after they
voted, walking down the hallway saying, ‘I think health care is
more important.’ We didn’t think that would happen.”
Like their parents, the students had several ballot questions to
vote on, including whether a tax of 5 cents should be charged for
overdue library books and whether students goofing off in hallways
during class should lose 5 minutes of recess.
Votes were tallied with a computerized system. Students held
remote controls and voted for A, B or C on each question. As votes
came in, lights popped up on a computer screen, corresponding to
the number for each clicker. Students received immediate results of
the winner within their class, but just like in real elections the
vote of each individual was kept private. Each precinct — or class
— voted separately, with the final results revealed Wednesday
Of course, there was a lesson behind the fun. Students learned
that when one candidate receives many more votes than the other
it’s called a landslide, and that when one candidate receives all
the votes it’s a unanimous decision, or “umaminous” as one girl
When asked to vote on whether the government should concentrate
spending money on health care, education or the environment,
volunteer Traci Bilek explained that there was no right answer to
In the past few weeks students have learned more basic facts
about the government, too, like who the candidates are, who can
vote, and what groups of people have not always had the right to
vote in this country.
“It’s good the kids were able to actually (vote), because
they’ve been learning about voting,” Bilek said.
“They can go home to their parents now and say, ‘I know how you
vote — with a clicker,’” Principal Deb March said with a laugh.
The idea to let students in on the voting process came from
parents. They developed the ballot questions and helped ‘man the
“(Parents) wanted to give kids the experience, especially with
the voting going on here,” Platt said, referencing the real polls
set up just outside the school’s library.
Like many of the Election Day polls the student results were
close for president, with only a three-vote spread between the
Republican and Democrat candidates after all but one class had
voted. Of course, the Mickey/Goofy ticket had taken close to
one-third of the votes.
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