First Semester Favorite – Mock Election

Students+vote+for+the+candidate+of+their+choice+in+the+presidential+election.
Students vote for the candidate of their choice in the presidential election.

Students vote for the candidate of their choice in the presidential election.

Students vote for the candidate of their choice in the presidential election.

Hannah Dimmitt

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The following story highlights one memorable 2016-17 school year event that occurred in the first semester. 

As eligible voters geared up for the November 8th general election, students participated in their own mock election on November 1st.

The election was designed by a company offering the dates of October 29th-November 3rd for schools to hold their voting. Schools could select any day within this range.

“We wanted the students to take part in the electoral process and give them an opportunity to voice their opinions. We want our students to be educated, productive, and active members of society,” said Stefanie Earnheart, one of the sponsors of the Student Political Activist Association (SPAA).

Students voted for national offices, including President/Vice President, Senator, and Representative. SPAA used social media and the school’s morning news to promote the election.

On the day of the mock election, there was no discussion of important issues. “We tried to maintain the actual atmosphere, as if you went to the polls and voted. We wanted to eliminate bias,” said Earnheart.

About 20% of the student body (150 out of 750) participated, with the freshman class leading the way with 30% (60 out of 200) participation. The election results were compared with those of other schools across the state.

“Our students elected Trump and Pence. Some of the larger schools elected Clinton and Caine. Overall, the schools in AR re-elected representative Womack but they elected a new senator Conner Eldridge,” said Earnheart.

Teachers could have participated but chose not to, thinking the election was for students only.

“Students who participated got to see what the ballot in Arkansas would be like. This gave students who will vote in the next election an insight as to how the process works,” said Earnheart.

Student leaders of the mock election were Coleman Warren for Republicans and Hope Davenport for Democrats. Both are active members in SPAA and were instrumental in voting day activities.

“I helped set it up with Mrs. Earnheart and helped her run it during lunches on the mock election day,” said Warren.

“I got people signed into computers and gave them instruction on how to vote,” said Davenport.

This participation in the school’s mock election carried over into outside school activities, as both Warren and Davenport got involved in political campaigns.

“I campaigned for Dwight Gonzalez, who ran for Arkansas State Representative,” said Warren.

“[The in-school activities] didn’t inspire anything new. I already campaigned for candidates and continued to do so,” said Davenport.

Reflecting on the entire experience, both students commented on it and what the process had taught each of them.

“I learned that people didn’t know anything about local candidates and that our school reflected the views of the rest of the country. It was really good for our school to get a hands-on experience with the government process,” said Davenport.

“I learned how little people seemed to care about voting. People are ignorant to politics in general. They only knew about presidents. I wish more people had opinions on the matters, as only 20% of people showed up to something that took 2 minutes. They didn’t care enough to put their ideas out there,” said Warren.

Earnheart expressed similar sentiments to those of these two SPAA leaders.

“We all see how society can be improved in the U.S. We are part of a republic that has an election process that allows us to vote for changes. If you are not part of that process, then you have no room to complain,” said Earnheart.

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