PRC holds mock election
Published 7:00 am Friday, November 4, 2016
(Update 11-4-16 9 a.m., school personnel report that the results of the mock election are as follows, Trump 71 percent, Clinton 29 percent.)
Students learned about their civic duty this week in a mock debate and election held at Pearl River Central High School.
Participation in the election was voluntary, but school personnel enticed students to do so by offering points that would be added to their personal file via the PBIS Rewards system. That system is used school-wide to track points issued for arriving to class on time and other behavior milestones. Librarian Mandi Mitchell said each student received 3 points for voting on Thursday.
On Wednesday, students participated in a school-wide assembly where a mock debate was held. Two students dressed up as the top running candidates, one as Donald Trump, and the other as Hillary Clinton.
Each candidate arrived with a “secret service” team and took the podium to go over their political platform.
Afterwards a few students posed questions they devised to the “candidates,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said she has an idea which candidate will win the mock election. During the election one student said the debate turned out to be “a Hillary bashing session.” The final results of the election will be presented on Friday.
The exercise is meant to prepare the students for the next presidential election in four years. By that time every student currently in high school will be old enough to vote.
Teaching them about the importance of voting before they graduate is important, because currently only about 40 percent of people aged 18 to 29 do so, Mitchell said. According to electproject.org, voter turnout peaks during presidential election years. The age group that heads to the polls the most are adults 60 and older; of that age group 70 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. The age group that participates the least is the 18 to 29 age group.
The level of education also appears to have an impact on the likelihood of a person voting on Election Day. According to the website, voters with a post college-graduate level of education had the highest participation rate, more than 80 percent, while those with less than a high school education participated the least, 35 percent.
Voting in the mock election gave each participating student a few more points they can use to purchase items or special privileges. Mitchell said the students can use their PBIS points to buy free dress passes or even prom tickets. A prom ticket costs 300 points.