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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Students learn process by voting 

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  • Eighth grade students at Chisholm Middle School had a chance to vote in their own election this week. They voted for President, and the results were closer to the national result than the Kansas or Newton result. President Obama and Gov. Romney tied in the Chisholm vote with 66 votes each. The libertarian party got three votes, the reformed party got two and there were 26 write-in votes. Social Studies teacher Carson Matile said the tie was a great chance to talk about the importance of one vote. There are several programs out there that allow children to vote in mock elections. Some are internet based, and some are programs, but Matile and fellow social studies teacher Gary Ewert came up with a system of their own with paper ballots. The students had to register to vote, and then voted, with other students acting as poll workers. They submitted their ballots on paper, folded them in half and put them in the ballot box. Later in the day the results were announced. Out of 264 students who were eligible to vote, 160 voted, which was 62.5 percent, about the same as in the general election for adults. At the Walton Rural Life Center the students took part in a Weekly Reader website voting program. Kindergarten teacher Rhonda Roux said her students touched a picture of the candidate they wanted on the computer screen. She said the children enjoyed the voting, which was done last week. "Today I had to tell a couple of them to quit talking about politics," she said. At South Breeze Elementary another program was used. Statewide there is a Kids Voting Kansas program that keeps tallies on a statewide basis from all the schools that participate. There were 48,000 students who voted in this program. President Obama had 26,880 votes, to 19,269 for Romney. "Election Day becomes a true celebration as our youth have the opportunity to see for themselves how the process works and how they can make a difference," director Emily Bradbury said. This is the 20th year of that program.  
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