Abraham Lincoln defeated Thomas Jefferson 21-15 in a bid for the Presidency of the United States and Bob Hope will serve as Minister of Comic Relief — this pending the official results of a mock election at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Sedalia designed to teach students the voting process.
Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada spoke to the students Monday on election by-lays, process and the importance of voting. First through eighth grade students were given a ballot identical to those used in the election process and given the chance to vote for president, other elected officials, and local and national propositions.
“We’ve really gotten involved with the schools in the four years I’ve been here and we’ve done mock elections, but I thought it would be a lot better idea to actually bring a polling location and do a true election with the kids so that when they grow up they can see what they will actually use when they go vote,” La Strada said.
After completing the ballot, students used the same equipment as the county’s registered voters will in the upcoming elections and were even given an “I Voted” sticker. La Strada and school officials hope the experience will leave a lasting impression, spurring an increase in voter turnout.
“When I see the low percentages of people voting I figure there must be a reason for that, whether it is apathy or people just don’t understand the value of it,” said St. Paul’s Principal John Nail. “If they don’t understand the value of it, then where do we teach that? Logically, it’s in schools.”
According to La Strada, voter turnout in the April municipal election was low at just more than 11 percent. In the last November election, turnout was more than 65 percent. It is his wish that through education those numbers will increase in years to come.
“A lot of people don’t know where they can get registered to vote. A lot of people don’t know how important it is to vote or the tax issues on the ballot or things that can affect you on a local or national level,” La Strada said. “Voter turnout is bad, but we are going to keep marching forward and get people engaged in the election process.”
In other mock election results, Amelia Earhart will serve as Minister of Transportation and Robert Frost will serve as Poet Laureate. Neil Simon will serve as Commissioner of Playwrights, narrowly defeating Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill. Joe DiMaggio and Jim Thorpe tied in the race for Commissioner of National Pastimes.
Another tie was for Commissioner of American Literature as William Faulkner and John Steinbeck each received 18 votes, narrowly defeating Ernest Hemmingway by a two vote margin. Regardless of whether their candidate was chosen however, many of the students enjoyed the presentation and learning about the election process.
“I think everyone should know and everyone should do it. You don’t want to be the one that didn’t vote and then it turns out you wanted this person in office and they didn’t win because your vote could have been the one that did it,” said eighth grader Jose Alicea.
For more information on the voting process, ballot and registration information and polling locations, visit pettiscomo.com.