Students at Jordan-Elbridge High School Monday morning assumed the identities of presidential candidates and attempted to win their peers' votes during the fifth presidential political rally at the school.
Ninth grade global history teacher Roger Roman said the school began the mock elections in 1988, in which the students voted Ross Perot president. This year's presidential candidates were elected by student voters in early October. Their running mates were chosen from the pool of those presidential candidates who lost their 'primaries.' Monday morning, the candidates delivered speeches to the high school student body and students voted Tuesday.
"Some of them [the students] actually said, I didn't know all this and when I listened to their speeches I actually learned something," Roman said of the rally speeches.
Many students said after hearing the speeches, they changed their vote. Students playing the role of a political candidate portrayed their actual views on topics.
Ninth-grader Mitch Pollock said he would vote for Reed Johnson, who played Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. Reed's personality won him over, said Pollock, and he thinks that candidate's personality plays a big part in their success in reality.For many students, Tuesday's mock vote was their first experience in a voting machine, Roman said.
"You only have one thing you have to know -- you pull down the lever by the person you want to vote for and make sure you pull the handle that releases the curtain," Roman coached students Monday afternoon.
Something else students learned about political campaigns by watching their peers -- strategy.
Of all the candidates and running mates, only one was a freshman. Roman pointed out to the class that the young candidate was selected as a running mate to help "carry the younger voters."
"Do you think it was by coincidence that Sen. McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, or do you think there was motive behind the selection?" Roman asked.
Seniors Kelly Cummins and Paulena Walrach, both 17, said they have been paying attention to the campaigning, but were not really disappointed they have another year to voting age.
"It's going to be a hard election this year," Walrach said.
Both girls agreed they would have voted for Sen. Barak Obama, given the opportunity.
The final numbers are in - here is how J-E students voted Tuesday:
Obama - 167
McCain - 112
Barr - 97
Nader - 24
The other rows got less than 10 votes total.