Students cast 'elementary' votes

Tuesday, November 4th 2008, 7:58 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City students cast their votes Tuesday for the next President of the United States. Although their votes were unofficial, the children learned valuable lessons about the election process and the privilege to vote.

The Hillcrest Elementary student body has spent the last few weeks learning about Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, but besides learning about the candidates, they were also taught about the importance of casting a ballot.

On Tuesday, the school's cafeteria was transformed into a polling place.

"They can get an opportunity to feel what they adults are feeling in our society and then they can come to school and voice their opinion," Principal Betsy Davidson said.

The mock election was designed to teach the kids what adults are doing in real life, from voter registration cards to standing in long lines.

"It's a privilege actually to vote and it's something not every person gets to do," student Nicole Cardenas said.

Students decorated their school with posters. One read, "McCain will ease our pain." Another read "Vote for Obama and he'll help your mama." The students also wrote essays about what they would do if president.

"I would make it to where dog pounds couldn't kill them," student Devin Miller said.

Student Karen Vargas had other polities in mind.

"I would lower gas prices and fix the economy," Vargas said. "Lower taxes, so you don't have to pay that much."

For many of the young students, they learned why their vote is so important.

School officials said fourth grade established the rules. Students had to be registered, they could not be in trouble at school and students who used profanity were forbidden from voting.

The Hillcrest Elementary School elected Obama, by an overwhelming 70 percent, compared to McCain who received 30 percent of the students' votes.