By Mark Rountree
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Approximately 550 students cast their vote for president in a mock election Monday at Sangre Ridge Elementary School.
Results will not be available until Tuesday, but school officials said that hardly matters to the pre-K through fifth-grade students.
“I don’t think the students really care who wins,” said Sangre Ridge Principal Ryan Blake. “They just like the idea of being part of the process.”
Each student was required to show identification at a registration table in the library, after which they were issued a ballot that was modeled after the ballot used in Payne County. After marking their ballot in one of eight voting stations, students dropped ballots into a ballot box and were given an “I Voted” sticker. Students voted only on the presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Prior to casting their ballots, students heard presentations from 40 students enrolled in professor Jeanette Mendez’s Elections 2012 class at Oklahoma State University. The OSU students were assigned to each of the elementary classes.
Fifth-graders heard a presentation that included such things as the role of a president and why it is important to vote, then filled out a worksheet about what they learned. Three Stillwater pizza restaurants donated pizzas to the fourth-grade class, which voted on their favorite topping, simulating the election process. The third-grade class heard a presentation on the electoral college using candy bars. First-grade students created voter registration cards.
Fifth-grader Bella Tidland said she learned that you had to be 18-years old in order to vote.
“I liked that there was not a right or wrong person to vote for,” said Tidland.
“I liked that you could vote for who you wanted to and it was your decision,” said fifth-grader Brady Lees.
Fifth-grader Tara Bartley, who voted for Obama, said she learned from the OSU students how long a citizen is required to live in the United States in order cast a ballot.
“This is a great educational tool,” said Blake. “It ties right in to what we do in our curriculum. And OSU is an amazing partner.”