A day before Election Day, students at Vermont’s Colchester High School made their voices heard in a mock election aimed to promote engagement with current events.
“Being part of this really makes me excited for being able to actually vote,” said Colchester senior Austin Collins, who is not yet old enough to vote in a real election.
Members of Colchester’s student government association put the mock election together with the assistance of social studies faculty.
The group also held discussions about the voting process, including how the Electoral College functions.
“A lot of people look at the ballot and they’re like, ‘Oh, I haven’t even heard of these names,’” said Colchester junior Robbie Davis. “So seeing it now makes you value what comes up, so you can prepare for that.”
Students cast mock ballots for presidential candidates and in Vermont’s statewide races.
“Us being involved is important and I think students should realize that early, so they can do it in the future,” said sophomore Sophia Brigante.
The kids sent Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine to the White House, and Republicans Phil Scott and Randy Brock to the Vermont governor and lieutenant governor’s offices.
Following a long and divisive campaign season, several Colchester students expressed a desire to see more unity across the country.
“We are the United States and we want to continue to be united,” said junior Jacob Dell. “Continue to be one country instead of a country that’s divided into factions based on political parties or based on candidates.”
“After the election, I’m ready for people to just get along,” Austin Collins added. “It’s always arguing and people are just getting put down in the debates and stuff. It’s just crazy.”
Voter turnout in the students’ mock election was just under 30 percent. Of course, turnout among adults on Election Day is expected to be much, much higher.
In other results from the student mock vote, incumbent Democrats Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch easily won their races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.