Students call presidential outcome four days early

By on November 9, 2016
(Left to right) Ethan Blazek, Jill Colebert, Pietro Elliott, Collin Kauffman, and Tabby Delmont couldn’t wait to hear the results of the WHS 2016 mock election.

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Warwick High School students cast their votes for president last week, and the winner was … drum roll … Donald Trump!

It proved to be a foreshadowing of Tuesday’s reality.

In the mock election held at the school Nov. 4, four days before the real election, students in grades nine through 12 chose the billionaire Republican to control immigration, end Obamacare, and build a wall on the Mexican border.

Of the 1,082 students voting, 561 voted in favor of Trump, while 362 chose Hillary Clinton as their candidate. Another 159 picked other candidates and did write-in votes for everyone from Jesus to Joe Maddon to Ken Bone.

It was the second time that high school Civics Club held mock elections. The last time was back in the spring. During their mock primary, students were far and away in favor of Bernie Sanders as president. Bernie garnered 371 votes, compared to Trump with 192, Marco Rubio with 90 and Clinton with 42. Other candidates earned less than 35 votes.

“It didn’t really reflect the primary results, since Clinton had more votes than Bernie in the real primary,” said Paul Castellitto, who teaches world history, civics and government. “We’ll have to see how this mock election compares to the general election.”

He said that last week. Now we know.

Castellitto is advisor to the Civics Club, which prepared the ballots, passed them out to home rooms, and counted the votes after school.

The idea for holding the mock election came from Warwick senior Collin Kauffman back in the spring. He thought it would be good practice to see democracy at work and was curious as to how the mock elections might compare to the real thing.

At 18, Kauffman is eligible to vote in the real election.

“I’m still debating who I will vote for,” he said last week. “I’m disappointed that I have to choose between the lesser of two evils.”

With enrollment of nearly 1,400, the mock election represented about 77 percent of the high school students who voted.

“We were pretty happy with that,” said Castellitto.

Of the students in the Civics Club, most voted in the mock election. The majority are in 10th grade and too young to vote in the real election.

Sophomore Nicholas Williams said that he considers himself to be extremely conservative. In choosing his candidate, the issues that mattered most to him were stopping illegal immigration, securing borders, and stabilizing the country.

Sophomore Jill Colebert was concerned about immigration and gun control, wanting a candidate who would protect Second Amendment rights.

Maicy Herr, also in 10th grade, felt that voting in the mock election was a good experience. Issues that matter to her are immigration, women’s rights, and abortion rights.

Sophomore Chris Gyles wanted the candidate who would stand up for clean energy and protecting the environment.

Kyle Emlet, 10th grade, expressed frustration about the hostility of the 2016 campaign. It was the first presidential campaign he had paid attention to, and it was disappointing to see so much fighting.

“There’s too much bickering, and too much anger. They sound like little kids arguing,” he said.

With the real election behind us, it remains to be seen if that anger subsides.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter for the Record Express. She welcomes comments and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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