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Wednesday

April 2014

16

Park View Middle School students select Mitt Romney as next president

Students pick Romney as next president

Bumper stickers encouraging people to vote dotted the halls of Park View Middle School in the days leading up to Monday's mock election. As students entered the library and received a ballot, the real-life simulation prepped students for the responsibility ahead of them once they turn 18.

While casting their ballots in the voting machine might have been "quick and easy," the lessons leading up to the election went deeper than just completing the ballot.

"Voting is a lot more than just putting in your ballot and saying who you want for president," observed seventh-grader Paul Jacobson.

Voters should know what candidates plan to do about issues such as jobs and taxes, Kacie Graul added.

While Park View has always done mock elections, in the past, those consisted of marks on a sheet of paper and stuffed into a box, explained PVMS social studies teacher Bonnie Honn. But this year, with the help of a PVMS parent who set up an actual ballot machine and The Marek Group of Waukesha, which printed the ballots, close to 700 students cast ballots in a way more closely resembling what their parents went through Tuesday. While results of the official election weren't known at the time the Chief went to press, the students chose Mitt Romney as the next U.S. president.

The lessons leading to the election dug deeper than the positions each candidate held on key issues. Students learned about the different jobs that make up the presidency. They learned about the Electoral College and were surprised to discover the role it plays in elections.

Students studied political parties and debated issues such as whether a two-party system can represent the diversity of the nation or whether knowing each candidate well is better for voters.

As election day neared, PVMS students registered to vote using their student identification.

The mock election was simplified to only cover the presidential candidates, but also included a referendum question students could relate to.

Tapping into the awareness students gained through this fall's school lunch boycott, the referendum question asked, "Do you think it is the responsibility of the government to monitor student calories?"

At the end of the day, 550 students said no, the government does not have the right to oversee calories, compared to 134 who said yes, the government does have that right.

As students wrapped up their lessons in voter literacy, some were excited by their taste of political reality.

"I'm looking forward to doing it when I am older," said Abbie Kramer.

Looking for real election results?

This issue of the Mukwonago Chief went to press before the polls closed Tuesday. Check out our website, LivingLakeCountry.com, for election stories, and watch next week's issue for a peek at local results.

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