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Georgiana, McKenzie schools vote in mock presidential election

Republican nominee Donald Trump would be America’s next president, if it were up to more than 400 high schools around the state who participated in a mock presidential election Tuesday.

The election was held as a part of an online service offered by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office. Students were able to cast a vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, Green Party nominee Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Trump received 75,571 votes from all participating schools—or about 44 percent of the vote. Clinton came in second with 66,868 votes, or 38 percent.  Johnson received 17,187 votes (10 percent) and Stein received 14,184 (8 percent).

McKenzie School and Georgiana School were among the 400 participating institutions, in which several students in grades 4-12 cast their ballots online during their history classes.

Tony Norris, history teacher at McKenzie School, presided over the mock election alongside fellow teacher Greg Ennis.  With the aid of their student-issued Google Chromebooks, each of their participating history students visited the requisite website and cast their votes.

Though Norris said that this year wasn’t the first for such a program, he added that it was his first time being a part of the exercise. And he added, unsurprisingly, that it was his older students who took to the experience most quickly.

“The younger classes are a little further away from that voting age, but I could tell that my 12th graders especially enjoyed the opportunity,” Norris said.

“And some of them may already be 18, and some of them will be in the next year.  But generally, as the students got older, they enjoyed it a little more.”

This year’s presidential election has garnered attention from both young and old audiences alike, and Norris said that the opportunity to educate McKenzie’s students on the candidates and the process has been a largely important experience for all of his students, no matter their age.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Norris said. “We’re showing them how to be good citizens.

“As I get older and they get older, they’re going to be the ones running this country, so we’re teaching them before they get out of high school to be good citizens and exercise your right to vote.”

Clinton was the overwhelming favorite at Georgiana School, with 290 votes (64.73 percent). Trump trailed with 82 votes (18.3 percent).  Stein received 37 votes (8.26 percent) and Gary Johnson received 39 (8.71 percent).

The opposite was true for McKenzie School, where Trump led all nominees with 466 votes (59.67 percent).  Clinton trailed with 32.52 percent.  Stein and Johnson each garnered 49 votes (6.27 percent) and 12 votes (1.54 percent) respectively.