Students at Webster City Middle School had an opportunity to learn about the election process Tuesday when they cast their ballots in an unofficial vote for president.
The student had a chance to get a real feel for the process as they stepped to the registration table and had their names checked off of the school roster. No chance of voting improprieties here as the young people couldn't advance any further until they were duly marked off the list.
Next, they were given a paper ballot in a privacy sleeve and were sent to a desk in the commons area with a cardboard screen - meant to shield the voting process from prying eyes. Then, just as their parents will do next Tuesday, the students handed off the secret ballots which were dropped into the ballot box.
"We're doing this today because we want the students to see what it's like to have an election and go through all the procedures like all voters do," said teacher Lisa Jorgensen. "We're trying to simulate the process as best we can."
The students did their research before voting, studying both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The older students then went from class to class to share the candidates' issues and views.
"They were familiar with each candidate," Jorgensen said. "We wanted to them them to have information from both parties."
Jorgensen's student council group visited the county Republican and Democratic headquarters and brought back information on the two Obama and Romney.
She said the ballots were counted at the end of the day and were tallied both in total and as well as by grade level.
"We're doing it just like they would for each state," Jorgensen said.
In the end, President Obama won the students popular vote. He garnered a total of 266 votes, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 173. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson received one vote. The following is the grade level breakdown of the student votes:
Fifth grade: Obama, 67; Romney, 31;
Sixth grade: Obama, 65, Romney, 39;
Seventh grade: Obama, 62; Romney, 41;
Eighth grade: Obama, 72, Romney, 62.