Kids turn out for Obama in Eagle County | VailDaily.com
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Kids turn out for Obama in Eagle County

Matt Terrell
mterrell@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado
In an electoral map decided by students in Eagle County and the U.S., Barack Obama won some states " such as Arizona, Wyoming and Texas " that he didn't win the election determined by adults.
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EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” If left to the kids in Eagle County, Colorado, it would have truly been a Barack Obama landslide.

Across the nation, more than 800,000 students cast ballots for the presidential election this week on http://www.studiesweekly.com, including many students from Eagle County.

Take a look at the election map. Several states that went with McCain in the real election Tuesday ” like Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia ” went to Obama for kids in elementary school.

Overall, Obama won 474 electoral votes, compared to McCain’s 64. The total kid vote in Colorado closely mirrored the adult vote. Obama got 9,356 votes to McCain’s 7,168.

So, why do elementary kids vote the way they do?

Many kids, honestly, don’t have much rhyme or reason to their picks. They go with simple, gut instincts, voting for whoever seems to be the friendliest face ” as in the second grader at Avon Elementary who voted for McCain simply because he looks like a character on a Nintendo Wii game, said principal Melisa Rewold-Thuon.

Others, though, seem to have a better grasp on some of the generalities of the candidate’s character, but give paraphrased, hyper-simplistic versions of their parents reasons for supporting a candidate.

According to a random sampling of kids at Edwards Elementary, kids were adamantly for Obama:

“He’s for change.”

“He’s a leader.”

“He’s the smart one.”

“One mom asked a student ‘why did you vote for Obama,’ and he said ‘because he’ll bring change to the country,'” Rewold-Thuon said. “A lot of times it mirrors what the parents think.”

Many students at Avon are Mexican immigrants, and many voted for Obama because they were afraid McCain would send their families back to Mexico, Rewold-Thuon said.

Kathy Cummings, principal at Meadow Mountain, said her kids were energized by getting to vote, each receiving the little “I voted” sticker that their parents get.

“The point is that they were talking about the presidential election. It got them excited,” Cummings said. “They struck up conversations in classrooms and the lunchroom about who their parents voted for, who they voted for, and they were interested to see who their new president was.”

Students at the Eagle County Charter Academy held their own private election.

Each class at the school was a “state” in the electoral college. Before voting, students had to register, and votes from classes who didn’t get their registration in on time didn’t have their votes counted.

“Obama won ” he had 16 classes that voted as states. Obama got 10 classes, and McCain got six,” office manager Barb Minervini said.

The popular vote though reflected a much closer race. Obama beat out McCain by just a handful of votes, 140 to 132.

“You get to explain to the kids first hand how the electoral college works and how the popular vote is different,” Minervini said.

On Friday, students at Edwards Elementary capped off election week with their own elections, apparently having learned a thing or two from the presidential race. Students have been campaigning for student council positions, plastering the school walls with flashy, colorful signs with simple messages, covering themselves with campaign stickers and carrying around signs mounted to rulers and popsicle sticks.

“Vote 4 Anabel Johnson, Vice President”

“Integrity, knowledge ” a good choice. Chase Key for president.”

Janet Reyes’ signs promise students that she’ll consider their opinions, that she’ll make the environment better for the school and that she “will try to think of ways we can help people/students who are in need.”

As in a presidential campaign, the fourth and fifth graders running for office gave speeches to their classmates, asking for their votes.

Candidates for president and vice president talked about their leadership abilities and how they could make the school a better place. Candidates for treasurer listed off their math skills. Candidates for historian touted their wonderful photography skills. Candidates for secretary boasted of their writing and organization abilities.

Priscilla Rodriguez, candidate for secretary, told her classmates: “I’ll help you know what you want to know. I’ll be a good writer. I’ll be a good speller.”

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

To view a state by state kid vote count, visit http://www.studiesweeklyvote.com/vote/report.php


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