On Election Day, it wasn’t just adults who were thinking about our next president and state and federal representatives. Wrangell’s students also headed to the polls to cast their ballots.
The mock election was Wrangell student Draven Golding’s senior project. He said the idea was to get students familiar with the process. Students had to register to vote ahead of time, and if they did not, they filled out a questioned ballot.
After all is said and done, Gloding said it was a valuable experience.
“I feel pretty good. I feel like kids got a pretty good experience. There were a few elementary kids that did it. I feel like that did help them,” said Golding.
Golding tallied up the votes Wednesday morning with three other students who were the mock election workers.
“Two people tallied and then there were two people that read off the votes. The people that read off the votes, one would tell us the votes, and the second would watch over to see if they did it correctly,” said Golding. “The people who tallied, we had two pens, a red and a blue one. We’d tally 25 ballots and once we were done doing that, we’d switch to the blue pen and continue tallying.”
Borough Clerk Kim Lane worked with the students as the process took nearly two hours. Lane is in charge of Wrangell’s local elections and helped them follow the process precisely.
“It actually took quite a while to do it because they had to tally all of the votes. Of course it’s not electronic. They did very well,” said Lane. “They made some mistakes, and they went ahead they were able to go back and find those mistakes and do the tallying correctly.”
A total of 93 students voted. That’s a 63 percent turnout based on middle and high school student numbers. Students voted nearly the same way Wrangell’s adults did in the general election. The margins were also very similar. President-elect Donald Trump received almost double the votes cast for Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. Both Alaska congressional delegation incumbents, Lisa Murkowski and Don Young, won by a landslide.
State Senator Bert Stedman took all the votes for District R. There were no write-in votes cast in that race. The one difference compared to the adult vote, was the House District 36 race. Independent Dan Ortiz won over Republican candidate Bob Sivertsen. Students also decided by narrow margins to vote in favor of ballot measure one and voted down measure two.
Golding said he hopes students continue this project in future years.