Learning the Election Process

Long lines of Washington High School students waiting to vote in a mock election formed in the CJB auditorium Friday, Oct. 5. Like in the actual election, students checked in using an iPad, showed identification and filled out their ballots. Seated on the far left is Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door who helped with the mock election. Election results will be announced Monday, Oct. 8.     Missourian Photo/Jeanne Miller Wood.

A total of 1,074 Washington High School students cast ballots in a mock election Friday, Oct. 5.

Students didn’t follow party lines, as they chose Republicans Mitt Romney for president, Todd Akin for senator, Shane Scholler as secretary of state, and Peter Kinder for lieutenant governor; and Democrats Jay Nixon for governor, Chris Koster for attorney general and Clint Zweifel for treasurer.

Vote breakdowns are as follows:

President — Barack Obama, 377; Mitt Romney, 571; Gary Johnson, 57; and Virgil Goode, 31.

Senator — Claire McCaskill, 405; Todd Akin, 496; and Jonathan Dine, 109.

Governor — Jay Nixon, 458; Dave Spence, 366; and Jim Higgins 139.

Lieutenant Governor — Susan Montee, 206; Peter Kinder, 547; Matthew Copple, 104; and Cynthia L. Davis, 91.

Secretary of State — Shane Scholler, 386; Jason Kander, 255; Cisse W. Spragins, 123; and Justin Harter, 151.

Attorney General — Chris Koster, 433; Ed Martin, 377; and Dave Browning, 135.

State Treasurer — Clint Zweifel, 431; Cole McNary, 372; and Sean O’Toole, 140.

Dr. Frank Wood, Washington High School principal, said he thought the election went well.

“I was very pleased that the kids seemed to understand the issues and what they were voting for,” Wood said, adding that he’s proud of teachers Becky Herbst and Clinton Schneider for organizing the election, along with Debbie Door, Franklin County clerk and chief election official.

Door complimented the school on how well organized the event was.

“All of the students I worked with were very respectful and interested in what they were doing,” she said. “It was a very good experience for me.”

Door said this was the first time actual election equipment was used.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the whole process all the way through from the very beginning to the very end,” Door said. “I wish some of the other area schools would take the opportunity to allow their students to (participate in a mock election).

“It was good to see young people so engaged in the election process.”

Cheers and Groaning

Wood said when the results were announced, Monday morning, he heard some groaning and some cheering.

“Overall, the kids have been great about everything,” he said. “Whoever they support — there isn’t any animosity toward the other group like there is nationally.”

Wood also said he was proud of the number of students who voted. A total of 1,332 registered and 1,074 voted.

“I wish the country would follow the same suit,” Wood said.

Becky Herbst said students learned a lot from the whole process and agreed that she was pleased with the election results.

Before voting, students had to register, check in on iPads, show identification and sign the voter log.

Students showed enthusiasm for the voting process.

Alex Ready, a junior, said she felt grown-up. Jacob Mulkey, who also is a junior, said he felt like he had an impact on society and felt “powerful” after voting.

During the voting process, students also learned about electioneering, as some accidentally electioneered in the voting line, Herbst said.

“Our goal was to have them study the political process and understand that every vote does count,” Wood said. “We want them to understand in our society that you look at the results and you throw your support behind whichever person holds the office once the dust settles. Someone wins and you get behind that decision and perform your civic duties.”

Wood said he’s interested to see how the school compares to the rest of the country in the general election this November.

WHS students have selected the winning presidential candidate in the past three elections.