Grand Rapids High School (GRHS) students completed their civic duty earlier this week by participating in a mock presidential election. This year, 282 high schools throughout the state of Minnesota participated in the Minnesota Students Vote 2016 program, the first statewide mock election with a focus on high school participation.
At GRHS, 839 total votes were cast and tallied, resulting in 377 total votes (45 percent) for Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and 201 votes (24 percent) for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Seventy-three of the votes (nine percent) were cast for write-in candidates, while Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson garnered 48 votes (six percent), Legal Marijuana Now candidate Dan R. Vacek received 47 votes (six percent) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 22 votes (three percent). Both American Delta Party candidate “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente and Independent party candidate Evan McMullin received 18 votes (two percent). With less than one percent of total votes were Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle (5 votes) and Socialist Workers Party candidate Alyson Kennedy (three votes).
Greenway school students also participated in their own mock elections this week. A total of 308 students from grades five-12 participated in mock elections, with grades five through eight voting only in the Presidential election. Students grades nine-12 were able to be a bit more involved in the process according to Alex McDonald, a government teacher with Greenway schools.
“[Students in grades] nine-12 also voted for a U.S. Representative and on the referendum regarding a council of citizens determining pay for legislators,” said McDonald, who considered the mock election important to instilling in students good citizenship practices.
“For a variety of reasons, young people tend to have especially low voter turnout, so it’s important for us to communicate the ways in which we are all affected by elections at every level of government,” said McDonald. “I hope that our students take away from [their participation in the mock election] that having their viewpoints represented depends on their participation as informed voters.”
In a similar outcome as with GRHS, Trump was the resounding winner of votes, with 41 percent. Clinton received 26 percent of Greenway’s votes. Rick Nolan received 66 percent of votes for U.S. Representative, with his counterpart, Stewart Mills, receiving 33 percent. Seventy-two percent of votes were in favor of an independent, citizens-only council prescribing salaries of lawmakers, while 28 percent reserved that right for the lawmakers themselves.
By Kassandra Tuten Herald-Review Updated Oct 29, 2016