By Lindsey Derrick
Dalton Public Schools contributor
The students of City Park Elementary took to the voting booths last Tuesday to take part in Every Kid Votes.
Every Kid Votes is a nationwide mock election that allows kids to vote for the candidate they would like to see as next president of the United States. Since 2004, schools throughout the nation have been signing up to participate in Every Kid Votes; the students accurately predicted the real outcome of the presidential race both in 2004 and 2008.
“We’re teaching them how to be a good citizen and (that) they should vote in the future,” said City Park teacher Lisa Cushman.
The students knew about the voting in advance so they could learn about the candidates.
“They could talk to their parents about it, and we’re putting things in the curriculum to teach them about government,” Cushman said.
Many grade levels were learning about the branches of government and how everything works and comes together.
In Cushman’s class, she would present the views of one candidate without a name or face attached to it and the students could see which ones they agreed with without being biased by the man himself.
Cushman said she saw many students really study up on the candidates. She had students tell her they did not like President Obama because he interrupted too much during the debates and they “thought that was rude.” Others said they did not like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney because he was “taking away Big Bird.”
Kindergarten through third-grade students voted on iPads, while the older students voted on computers. When an iPad was ready for the vote, photos of the two candidates with their vice presidential running mate would appear. The students touched the face of the candidate they liked and their vote was cast. After a child selected a photo, there would be a three-minute timer on each iPad so the students could not keep voting for one candidate many times.
Seven-year-old Maryn Payne followed her parents and voted for Romney.
“You get to vote at 18, but I got to vote at 7,” Maryn said.
Eleven-year-old Amber Oliver also voted for Romney.
“I don’t believe the mean things people are saying about Romney,” Amber said, “and Obama didn’t make our country better.”
Cody Guzman and Natasha Cooper voted for Obama.
“He made rules, and he’s a nice guy,” said second-grade student Cody of Obama.
“A lot of people don’t like Obama, but I do,” said 10-year-old Natasha. “I don’t want to vote for a different person, because I like the way the country is now.”
To see the results of the mock election or learn more about Every Kid votes, visit www.studiesweekly.com.