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Future voters

Americans made their voices heard in electing a new president on Tuesday.

Pilot Point Elementary School students made their voices count, too. But they cast their ballots in the school library, not in the local precincts.

The school and Monaco Elementary School held mock elections in the run-up to Tuesday’s general election. At PPES, students, teachers and school staff could all casts ballots for the four main party candidates — Hillary Clinton (Democratic), Donald Trump (Republican), Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green Party) — or write in a candidate.

First grade teacher Corey Haughton organized the mock vote and led her students to the library from her classroom late Monday morning to allow students a chance to vote. The mock election meets the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills standards.

Set up similar to a regular election in a precinct, students showed a “voter registration card” and signed their name before they walked to individual booths created on tables inside the library. After they filled in their choice of candidate, they placed their ballot in a box.

“They love it,” said Barbie Pope, librarian, referring to how students react to getting to vote.

She performed the duties as election clerk, assisting the students with the sign-in procedure. Students have been talking about the election process and have vocabulary words involving the election in their lessons this week. Teachers stress the importance of the right to vote, electing a president and demonstrating citizenship skills.

“Several of the classes even colored pictures of who they were going to vote for,” Pope said. “It’s a great learning experience.”

Haughton said students learn vocabulary words and the value of skills, such as responsibility and choices, in the mock election.

When they entered the library, students learned all the steps that have to be taken for someone to vote. For example, when the students’ parents go to vote, they have to know where to cast their ballot and take their registration card to the voting site, where election clerks check to ensure they are registered.

Haughton demonstrated all the steps to vote, and then students took their turns.

“You’ll see who the winner is tomorrow,” she said, prompting glee from the first-graders.

Totals from Pilot Point Elementary School: Trump, 128; Clinton, 125; Johnson, 14; Stein, 7; and four write-ins.

Totals from Monaco Elementary School: Trump, 126; Clinton, 101; Johnson, 39; and Stein, 36.

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