By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Middle schoolers' mock election mirrors national vote

Students at both Patton and Duniway middle schools voted in a mock presidential election on Tuesday. The results mirrored those of the real one, as Barack Obama was re-elected at both schools.

About two-thirds of the sixth-, seventh- and eight-graders voted for Obama, about one-third for challenger Mitt Romney. That’s the same result recorded on the state and national levels, only with a larger margin.

At Duniway, students voted using an app. The results were 64 percent for Obama, 28 percent for Romney and 2 percent for other candidates.

At Patton, students went to a decorated polling place and filled out paper ballots. There, it was 68.3 percent for Obama and 31.7 percent for Romney.

Students at both schools received “I Voted” stickers and snacks from Betty Lou’s after casting their ballots.

In one sixth-grade core class at Duniway, Katie Elliott’s students had strong opinions about the candidates — and about voting itself. “One vote can make a difference,” Tyler Cosmo noted.

Hanna Dobash said she would definitely vote in a real election. She said voting is a way of stating a person’s opinion about what’s best for them.

If you don’t vote, Emily Cinnamon said, it could hurt more than just yourself. “Maybe you and a lot of others wouldn’t get what they need,” she said.

Although they’re only in the sixth grade, the students said they’d been paying attention to this election, particularly the presidential race. Some watched the debates and many had discussed the race with their families.

“Both Obama and Romney have pros and cons,” Joseph Leonard said. He said he was concerned about the president’s views on abortion, but felt the challenger would take away women’s rights.

He ended up for the candidate he thought would do the most good and least harm.

Kris Renshaw agreed that no candidate was perfect, but thought people should decide by which fit them best. Someone concerned about the economy, for instance, would probably vote for the person who they thought would create jobs, while someone focused on the environment would choose the candidate with the best plan in that area.

The students said they considered how much experience each candidate had. Some liked Obama because he had been president for almost four years already and others preferred Romney because of his business background and experience as a governor.

But experience also could be a negative for some voters. So could the candidates’ promises during the campaign.

“They’ve both said a lot of things that haven’t come through,” Jesse Rodriguez said.

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