Published On: Mon, Nov 12th, 2012

CHS students participate in Mock Election

Cherokee High School students in the History Department participated in a mock election on Tuesday, Nov.  6 in conjunction with the official elections being held around the nation.  It was an opportunity for students to learn about the election process and review the outcomes in comparison to the official results.

Mrs. Kelley Canaday, CHS publications teacher, pulled sample ballots that were available online in order to provide an aspect of realism to the mock election.  The ballots were distributed based on the student’s county of residence:  Jackson and Swain.  In addition, students who lived in Whittier received a different ballot based on the elections being held in this locality.  What should have been a simple task was enlightening to many students.  Quite a few students knew where they lived, but they did not their county of residence.  This provided teachers the opportunity to discuss local geography and the establishment of districts for election purposes.

Once the ballots were distributed, students were given instructions for completing the ballots.  In order to demonstrate the responsibilities of citizenship and freedom of choice held in the United States of America, students were also advised it was their choice to participate in the mock election and answer the number of categories on each ballot.  This provided an opportunity for educators to discuss the importance of an individual voice in politics and civic responsibility.    Less than ten students present on Nov. 6 chose not to participate in all or part of the election.  In total, 71 ballots were cast in the election.

When students were considering making their choices, they discovered implications of the lessons taught in Civics and U.S. History.

For example, one student said “Who should I vote for?  I don’t know who they are.”

Another student asked, “What is a Libertarian?”  Mr. Tullos, CHS history teacher and basketball coach, provided an explanation to the student, so the student would be better equipped to make an informed choice.

Mrs. Canaday said, “As a teacher, it was nice to see the light bulbs coming on over their heads, and reality setting in that teachers don’t just speak to hear themselves but to actually impart knowledge and skill that they will need in the future.  Many of the students got a kick out of the experience and enjoyed having the opportunity to be heard.”

This mock election opened the door to discuss many aspects of politics and the election process, as well as stress the importance of becoming a responsible, active citizen and using your voice at every opportunity presented.

The Democrats swept the board in the partisan section of the ballot.  Obama-Biden won over Romney-Ryan with a vote of 54 to 8 with 5 votes for Johnson-Gray (the Libertarian ticket) and four write-ins:  Ron Paul, Wes Studi and Dennis Banks, and Mr. Tullos.

Teachers took the opportunity to analyze the results in comparison to the official results.  It was interesting to hear students’ responses to the difference in numbers.  One explanation for the larger number of votes for Democrats was it is the first choice listed in each category.  One student suggested changing the arrangement on the ballot to see if the same pattern occurred.   Some students said they voted for who their parents supported, others voiced they voted for their own choice.

Later in the week, juniors and seniors were invited to watch a documentary in the library about how the election is important to Native Americans.

– Cherokee Central Schools 

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