Student Election Mirrors County Results

Nov. 7, 2012 ~ Olathe students' votes in a recent mock election mirror the feelings of adult registered voters in Johnson County. The mock election was open from Oct. 29 through Election Day, Nov. 6. Students in grades 1-12 voted 7,431 for Gov. Mitt Romney over 6,999 votes for President Barack Obama. According to the Johnson County Election Office website, 155,442 voters chose Romney versus 107,651 for Obama.

On Wednesday following the presidential election, Olathe students were able to review their voting results by school or district-wide and see how their favorite political candidate (from U.S. House of Representatives to President of the United States) fared. The results could be viewed by grade level, school, and gender.

"Students had the choice of three ballots," Social Studies Coordinator Maureen Donegan said. A simple ballot for president was designed for elementary students. A full ballot was also available. The third option allowed students to take a stand on issues chosen by middle and high school teachers.

"These issues were part of recent political platforms and prompted classroom discussion and research," Donegan said. The issues were whether:

Public schools should be evaluated on the basis of students' performance in national standardized exams.The federal government should help subsidize loans for students attending college.The individual mandate to purchase health insurance is illegal.Drugs should be legalized, taxed, and regulated by the U.S. government.Legal immigrants should be required to carry proof of immigration status at all times.Children of illegal/undocumented immigrants currently in the United States should be offered a path to legal citizenship.

Enthusiasm in the election process also included simulating the Electoral College by assigning each school to a state based on the school's student population. Donegan said the schools will have a number of electors based on their student population, and compare that outcome to the nation's vote.

Frontier Trail Middle School students showed their enthusiasm for voting. American History teacher Carole Hutcheson said students had learned a lot about political parties and the election process, and many had created “Vote 2012” signs for the library and computer lab where online voting took place on Nov. 6. Frontier Trail students promote voting
Frontier Trail teacher Carole Hutcheson handed out “I Voted” stickers after students cast their votes online in the computer lab. Teacher hands out I Voted stickers

One classroom at a time, Frontier Trail students went to either the computer lab or school library to cast their votes. Districtwide and individual school results were made available for students and teachers to view on Nov. 7.

Frontier Trail students voting online
Cole Brabec and Neel Patel participated in a mock presidential debate for their fellow Mission Trail Middle School students. The debate included questions about the topics that were on one of the three ballots students could vote on Nov. 6.  Mission Trail mock election candidates

Bessie Bauman and Chase Hartquist of Mission Trail Middle School researched topics including student loans, legalization of drugs and proof of immigration status for the mock presidential debate.

Photos by Marlene Colgan
Mission Trail mock election candidates