By Marina Renton
The center of the student cafeteria was transformed into a small-scale polling station
during all three lunches Tuesday, Nov. 5. AHS students and teachers were given the opportunity to vote in a mock election for U.S. president, for U.S. Senate, and for the three state ballot questions. Students enrolled in Democracy and Media Literacy classes were charged with checking people in and preparing the ballot boxes.
Students voting in the mock election elected Obama/Biden President/Vice President and Scott Brown as the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. All three ballot questions passed as well. Ballot Question 1 proposed additional protections for vehicles owners and independent auto shops, Question 2 addressed death with dignity, and Question 3 focused on access to medical marijuana.
Social Studies teacher Ms. Robb strongly encourages political awareness among the student population. “Most of our seniors either are 18 or will be turning 18 this year, so they’re right on the cusp of being able to vote or they are registered to vote. [The mock election is] a great way for them to practice,” she said, adding that “It’s also really helpful for students to see other people voting so, when they turn 18, they’ll know what to do, they’ll know that it’s an important thing to do.”
Although she feels that some not-yet-voting-age high school students would make informed voters, Ms. Robb believes that 18 years old is an appropriate age minimum.
“I have a lot of students who are not yet 18 who are probably better informed than the rest of the general public, but then there are some students who [didn’t much care about the mock election]. So, I think 18 is probably a good age,” she said.
“I would argue that we are in the current political state that we’re in right now because not enough people pay attention to what’s going on. So learn the skill now, practice the skills now, make them second nature so that when they are eligible to vote, it’s just part of what they do, part of their life,” Ms. Robb concluded.
Brynn Stevens contributed to this report.