Students Cast Ballots in Mock Election

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Middle School students may not be old enough to cast a ballot, but they still got hands on experience voting this Election Day.

About 750 Merrill Middle School students in Des Moines participated in a national mock election. Teacher David O’Connor says, “It’s the largest one in the country. It’s done through the University of Virginia’s Youth Leadership Initiative. There are students all over the country who are participating in it.”

Students voted in the school’s library during Social Studies. They studied the issues and candidates leading up to Election Day to help them vote. 8th Grade Student Anna Karr says, “I think it’s important because when we do get the ability to vote, we should have some good sites that tell us just the advice of how to pick.”

Another 8th Grade Student, Mitch Majure, says it’s important for young people to learn to vote. He says, “Even though we’re young and not all that smart yet, there are still decisions we could make. It affects us a lot too, not just the people who are out of high school.”

The set up is similar to a real election, but this year officials are requiring photo i.d. to vote. O’Connor says, “That’s a controversial issue right now all around the country, so I thought it would be a good way to give a tool to base some learning from.”

The results will be released Wednesday so students can compare their vote to the real election.

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