Mock election helps Greenville High School students learn about ballot

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 1:44 am on Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Greenville High School teacher Tim O’Brien instructs his students on the proper method of tallying votes submitted by students during a school-wide mock election held Monday morning.

GREENVILLE — Greenville High School students cast their vote for 2012 through a mock election presented by the government classes.

On Monday, government teacher Tim O’Brien had students from his government and AP government classes distribute sample ballots to the student body to help familiarize the students with election day.

Greenville High School students, senior Andrew Winright, 17, left, and senior Kenneth Alksnis, 17, work together to tally votes submitted by students in a mock-election held at the school Monday morning.

“Our purpose is to expose the students to voting, all the candidates and proposals on the ballot,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully, this will create dialogue between their parents and friends dealing with the election.”

Working up to Tuesday’s mock election, senior Grace Beckman, 18, said the government classes have been learning about the candidates, proposals and more.

“It has been very helpful for me,” Beckman said, who, this year, is eligible to vote for the first time.

Beckman helped to distribute about 1,200 sample ballots to the student body at the high school.

Greenville High School freshman Brekken Hayes, 15, fills out his sample ballot Monday morning during a school-wide mock election.

Once the students voted, Beckman said committees were in place to count the ballots to determine the results of the mock election, which had President Barack Obama being re-elected.

From left, Greenville High School students, junior Bethany Gnatz, 16, junior Mitchell Timmerman, 15 and senior Caleb Wolfe, 17, organize sample ballots filled out by students during a school-wide mock election held Monday morning.

The exercise helped students like Beckman learn this year’s ballot topics aside from political ads or by word-of-mouth.
“Students are persuaded a lot by their parents,” she said. “I have learned it is about how I personally feel about (the information on the ballot).”

While participating in class and in the mock election, 17-year-old senior Caleb Wolfe said he learned a lot of people do not understand who or what they are voting for.

“A lot of people who pay attention to the ads are not sure what the truth is,” Wolfe said. “This (mock election) has definitely helped for the future and opened my eyes on the views.”

Freshman Brekken Hayes, 15, has a few years before being eligible to vote during the election, however, he participated in the mock elections at the high school on Monday.

While participating in the election, it helped Hayes learn more about the proposals and how they impact taxpayers, however, he admitted if he had to vote today, the mock election would not have informed him as much as he would like.

“I don’t think it helped (to teach about the issues),” Hayes said, “but it did help familiarize me with the ballot.”

O’Brien said through the mock election he hopes to provide insight on the voting experience to not only students voting today, but to students in the future.

“(Tonight) they will hopefully watch the results on TV or Internet,” O’Brien said.

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