Amidst political ads and yard signs touting one presidential candidate over the other, some light-hearted election fun is taking place in Johnston.
At Timber Ridge Elementary, students will participate in the 2012 Iowa Student Mock Election, a program endorsed by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz. This year, the Secretary has partnered with the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council (IDDC) and the National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) to coordinate this event. IDDC’s strategy is to arm those of us who are affected by disability with the information, skills and confidence to stand up and take action; to offer solutions, and be a driving force for the change they want to see. NSPME is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to educate America’s youth and familiarize them with the electoral process.
Timber Ridge Students will begin registering to vote Monday, October 22, 2012, with the mock election taking place on October 30, 2012. Before the mock election, students are encouraged to be informed and access materials through the National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) website at www.nationalmockelection.org as well as books in the library and various web sites shared during LMC classes. Educators view the mock election as a good opportunity to inform students on the political process. Timber Ridge Dean of Students Josh Morgan and school counselor Jan Maronn oversee the school’s mock election process.
“We have the fifth graders choose about three key issues to focus on, such as the economy, education, and healthcare,” Morgan said. “We send them out to find out how the candidates feel about the issue, and the point is to help them realize that for the best information and facts, they should be looking at the candidate’s website. Every morning, they use the announcements to inform students on both sides of the issue. So this whole time, they are learning how to find the best, most direct source of information to be an informed voter.”
While the staff at Timber Ridge take precautions to not endorse a selected candidate, you may see staff dressed as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama “campaigning” for last-minute student votes. Students all around the state and country will be able to participate in the electoral process much like adults do and by voting for our next president.
“You’ll see posters all over the hallways – some for the candidates, some about the importance of voting,” Morgan said. “Mock elections are a great way for students to practice the voting process.”
Polls across the country will close November 1 at 8:00 pm PT. Results will be posted on November 2 on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at https://sos.iowa.gov/ConstituentServices/MockElection.aspx. Results will be available on the national and state level.