Students Engage in Democracy at Mock Election
SJND held its first “Youth Vote 2016,” a mock U.S. Presidential election on November 7 and 8.
Though most of the students at SJND are too young to actually vote, English teacher Cathy Fitzgerald and social science chair Ryan Rosso created ballots to allow students to cast a mock vote for propositions and candidates for state senator and president. Students also spent time in the weeks before learning about the different propositions on this year’s ballot and creating their own proposition campaigns.
“The hope is that by casting a vote, students get more engaged in the process,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re always trying to get students involved in democracy, because this is what democracy is — participation.”
The idea, spearheaded by Fitzgerald, was brought from a previous school where she taught history and government.. She said when she ran a mock voting in 2008, allowing students to cast mock ballots increased the amount of investment they felt in current events around elections. This year’s candidates and propositions sparked debate in the classrooms and promoted research and conversation.
History teacher Christina Arias believes that it’s especially important to get high schoolers informed about voting because they will be able to cast a vote soon. “We’ve seen a lot of youth feel like their vote doesn’t matter, so we feel with these kids, giving them the opportunity to vote and understand the election process, can get more kids to want to vote, and to be informed,” Arias said.
Sophomore Joseph Anderer ’19 said being able to cast a mock ballot really helped him and his peers realize the importance of voting, and to learn how to fill out a ballot card. “It’s important for all students to have a vote and a voice, and feel what it’s like to have a ballot and vote,” Anderer said. Sophomore Caroline Bridges ’19 also said that seeing the results of the mock voting allowed some insight into how the student body felt politically, which was fun. “I think it’s important that we are about to say what we think and it’s interesting to see how our school matches up with the state,” she said.
Excepted from the East Bay Times