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Students cast mock votes

Golden Valley kids learn ins and outs of election

Posted: October 31, 2008 10:08 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Having participated in a mock election, Ruya Sayim turns in her ballot during Mrs. van Langenberg's government class at Golden Valley Thursday morning.

Daniel Vreeland has solid reasons to support Sen. John McCain for president. Clark Wyatt is equally supportive of Sen. Barack Obama.

Now, if only they were old enough to vote.

Seniors at Golden Valley and West Ranch high schools participated in the MyVote California Student Mock Election.

Youngsters cast their votes for president and each of the 12 propositions that will appear on Tuesday's ballot. The practice vote comes days before some students will vote for real.

"I have three students who will actually be voting on Nov. 4, so learning about the candidates and the propositions has been really beneficial for them," said John Quam, a government teacher at Golden Valley High. "I think all of my students now have a better understanding of the election process."

Quam's students studied all of the issues and the candidate's policies in class before casting their votes.

Daniel, 17, said he also watched all of the debates on television before making his decision.

"I like McCain's strategy on the Iraq war - how it should be ended, but it should be ended right and we shouldn't just pull out," Daniel said. "He's a war veteran who's actually fought for our country."

Daniel was in the minority, however. Most of his classmates, as well as seniors across the state, voted for Obama. As of 1:50 p.m. Friday, Obama led with 74 percent of the vote to McCain's 20 percent, with 614 of 901 participating schools across the state reporting.

"I like how (Obama) would be the first black president," said Clark, 16, adding that even though it was a mock election he took it very seriously. "It was interesting. I got to vote for all the propositions and for the president that I wanted," he said.

The Proposition 8 debate dominated the discussion in Quam's class just as it is in the rest of the state.

Kids sounded off on both sides on the proposition to ban gay marriage.

Mary Vincenti, 17, said she voted yes on Proposition 8. "I considered both sides, but I think we're losing all of our morals," Mary said. "I was torn, but I thought what next - being able to marry a dolphin?"

But no on Proposition 8 votes led at Golden Valley High and the rest of the state.

"I voted no because I don't believe you have the right to impose your views on someone else no matter how right you think you are," said Matt DeMello, 17. "It's a free country and you should be able to do what you want."

Proposition 4, which requires that parents be notified before a teenage girl gets an abortion, sparked more debate from teens. Alma Rivera, 17, voted yes on Proposition 4.

"If a girl gets pregnant, she should tell her family so they can help her. They might get angry at first, but they'll get over it and then that's a life that's been saved," Alma said.

Diana Richardson, 17, and 53 percent of state seniors voted no on Proposition 4.

"Not everybody can tell their family if they're going to have an abortion because of their culture and their background," Diana said.


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