Some of Ramona’s most-informed citizens won’t be heading to the polls next Tuesday.
That’s because they are too young to have their votes count.
But that hasn’t stopped them from casting their choices for president, state senator, and propositions 30 through 40.
Mountain Valley Academy, part of Ramona Community School, held a mock election last week for 150 students in grades eight through 12.
In the presidential and California senate races, Republicans Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Emken each won in landslides against their Democrat opponents.
Propositions 34 and 35 passed with 58 and 81 votes, respectively. Prop. 34 seeks to repeal the state’s death penalty, while 35 would increase penalties for those convicted of human trafficking and sex slavery, if approved for real next Tuesday.
All other propositions on the ballot failed to win students’ approval.
In the three weeks leading up to the mock election, 32 students enrolled in Larry Hofer’s civics classes dissected the pros and cons of each proposition, created posters to hang on campus to share what they learned with other student voters, and orchestrated debates during study hall.
“The kids here really got into the propositions,” said Hofer. “They researched them, they debated them, and they’ve certainly formed some opinions.”
Hofer got the idea to incorporate real-time politics into his class when he learned about MyVote California, a program that tallies mock election votes from secondary students nationwide. Hofer submitted Mountain Valley’s votes to the program earlier this week.
“In civics class, we’re teaching what a good citizen is and, of course, it’s all about voting,” said Hofer, whose wife works for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office and helped make the mock election as realistic as possible.
Using real voter booths that will be used again on Nov. 6, polls were open in Ramona Community School’s
multi-purpose room from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. last Thursday and Friday. Those who voted also proudly sported the same “I Voted” stickers handed out on Election Day.
While acting as poll workers in the mock election, senior Abby Jacobi recalled being a little girl going with her parents to watch them vote in past elections.
“My mom would take me with her and I’d stand there and not really know what was going on,” said the 17-year-old. “(Politics) have always been in my family, like we watch the debates and all that, but I never really understood any of it until a few years ago and so doing (the mock election) kind of brought it all together for me, like I get it so much more now.”
Fellow poll worker Kacie Doyle, also 17 and a senior, said she’s learned what it’s like to be an informed voter and why it’s important.
“At first, I read (the intro to a proposition) and was like ‘of course yes, why would I vote ‘no’ on this,’ but then when I dug deeper and really saw who was saying what and why, it was like ‘oh wait, this isn’t good, no I don’t want this,’” said Doyle.