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Zachariah Connell holds mock election

Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Madison Stahl (left), and Breanna Pastorius, both sixth grade students in Rita Cooper's class, tally votes during a mock presidential election held by students at Zachariah Connell Elementary School in Connellsville on Monday, November 5, 2012. The mock election was organized by Marian Bryson and her sixth grade math class as a class project, to learn about charts and graphs.

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Although individuals must be 18 years old and registered to cast a legal vote, the students at Zachariah Connell Elementary School in the Connellsville Area School District got to experience a mock election on Monday when they cast their ballots for president of the United States.

“Mrs. (Marian) Bryson thought of the idea and I thought it was a wonderful idea,” Zachariah Connell principal Traci Kuhns said. “All the kids in the school had a chance to vote.”

Bryson, the school Title 1 teacher, said that idea came to her when she was working with a few of her students doing graphs.

“I thought that the kids needed to be aware of the election, and last week, we were talking about graphs,” Bryson said. “I thought it would be a cool idea to do something with the graphs for the election.”

Last Friday, teachers hung signs stating that the students would be voting in a mock presidential election on Monday morning.

“The kids were really excited,” Bryson said. “A lot of the kids thought that it was really neat.”

The students all voted in the morning in their homerooms. The totals were then posted and announced.

“We announced the winner at the end of the day,” Bryson said. “We posted a bar graph so they could see the results.”

Bryson said some of the school's social studies classes have been talking about the election and she was glad the students had the opportunity to actually cast their own votes.

The winner of the students' election was Democratic candidate and President Barack Obama with 287 votes. Republican candidate Mitt Romney received 72 votes.

“It was really exciting for them,” Bryson said. “You could hear all the kids clapping when the results were announced.”

Bryson said she enjoyed the experience and hopes to repeat it during the next presidential election.

“I really liked it and the kids were so excited,” Bryson said. “I would like to do it again in four years.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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