wins governors race in landslide
McKinney students head to polls in mock election
student Miriam Barcus cast her vote during the mock gubernatorial
election at the McKinney School Tuesday
As voter turnout in
Tuesdays general election was expected to drop nationwide, McKinney
School students did something that could help encourage greater voter
participation for their generation. During the two weeks leading up to
Election Day, the seventh and eighth graders led political campaigns to
convince their classmates to vote for one of Ohios gubernatorial
candidates, Bob Taft and Tim Hagan.
Then, row by row on Tuesday, the students in Shawn Jacksons 8:15
a.m. social studies class took their ballots to the two official voting
booths provided by the Clark County Board of Elections and punched a hole
in support of their choice for governor.
At the end of the day, voting tallies revealed overwhelming support for
Tim Hagan, who won 65 percent of the 119 votes cast by the students. John
Eastman, not included in the mock election, received 26 percent and Taft
had 9percent. The results will be included in a national tally of junior
high Kids Voting results and published on the Kids Voting Web site within
the next two weeks.
During the campaign, students in each of Jacksons six classes divided
up into two committees, one for Taft and one for Hagan. The committees
elected a chair and designated groups to research candidate profiles on
the Web, make signs and posters, create video advertisements and give
speeches in support of their candidate.
Clever posters lined the walls of the McKinney annex reading, Dont
be daft, vote for Taft and Im beggin for Hagan.
One poster featured a digital photo of Hagan standing in a pristine woodland
and a photo of Taft in a burnt out logged forest. It read: Hagan
cares, Taft doesnt.
And the students got to apply some of their video production skills by
creating political commercials. One of the TV ads showed a handsome elderly
couple, dancing the tango in the Bryan Community Center gymnasium, approach
the camera and affirm their support for Bob Taft.
Students practiced collaborating to use artistic, research and communication
skills for an interdisciplinary educational experience.
They also learned a little about the drawbacks of politics.
Julia Schenning chaired the Taft committee for her seventh-grade class
and had trouble getting her peers to listen and follow the groups
plan. Just a few years ago, I wanted to become the president of
the United States, Schenning said. But now if I go into politics,
Id just be the governor because if I had this much trouble motivating
just this little group, I probably wouldnt do that well as president.
This kind of experience and insight is perhaps what students across the
nation will gain by participating in the National Student/Parent Mock
Election Project. The program, coordinated by PBS television stations,
aims to foster civic participation and encourage kids to become interested
in voting. Jackson feels generating interest at an early age is important.
I want to start initiating voting practices at this age not just
as a right, but as a responsibility, Jackson said.
Students are also encouraged to participate in part of the Kids Voting
program which allows parents to bring their children to the polls and
vote alongside them at designated polling locations, including those in
Yellow Springs. That means some students will get to vote twice in one
day, once at school and once with their parents at an official polling
Seventh grader Ben Adams began Tuesday by voting at school. I voted
for John Eastman, Adams said. Im not really a Republican,
and then I started seeing all this negative campaigning Hagan was doing,
so I just voted for Eastman.
The students decided not to include Eastman in their campaign project
because they could not find enough information on the candidate and other
logistical reasons. But Jackson included discussions throughout the two-week
curriculum about the three independent candidates running for governor.
Its good for students to know that anyone can run for office
to change things, Jackson said.
Jackson became a player in the local political world more than a decade
ago when he ran for Clark County commissioner. Two years ago he managed
Roger Tacketts state Senate campaign, and last year he ran for school
board for a seat on the Southeastern School District school board.
In class, he talks to the students about his experiences. It really
brings the ideas home if you know someone who has run for office and has
been involved in campaigns, Jackson said.
The first mock election Jackson initiated at McKinney was the 1990 gubernatorial
race. Every year since then his students have participated in an election,
including the 1998 Bush/Gore presidential race and several other senate
and congressional races.
Voting, even in a mock election, could teach students important civic
lessons and encourage youth to talk to their parents about issues that
affect them. Seventh grader Hannah Montgomery planned on going to the
polls with her parents Tuesday after school.
I learned some things about how Hagan supports the forests, and
I liked his plan, she said. Ill probably vote for Hagan.
My parents are.