SHALIMAR — Okaloosa County School District students had the chance to exercise their right to vote in a non-binding presidential election through the Kids Vote, Too and Teens Vote, Too programs.
Students voted for president and vice president, United States senator, Congress District 1 representative, District 1 county commissioner and for several local issues.
Grades K-5: 12,008 voters
Mitt Romney – 6,042 (50.77%)
Barack Obama – 4,717 (39.64%)
Should you be allowed to chew gum during FCAT testing?
No - 6,760 (58.4%)
Yes – 4,816 (41.6%)
Would you like to wear a school uniform every day?
No – 8,269 (71.51%)
Yes – 3,295 (28.49%)
What class would you rather have?
Art – 4,914 (42.31%)
Technology – 3,213 (27.67%)
Music – 2,523 (18.32%)
Foreign Language – 1,358 (11.69%)
Grades 6-8: 5,842 votes
Mitt Romney – 3,393 (58.2%)
Barack Obama – 2,055 (35.25%)
Should students be allowed to use personal electronic devices in the classroom?
Yes – 5,104 (87.89%)
No – 703 (12.11%)
Would you prefer to go to a year-round school system?
No – 4,665 (80.26%)
Yes – 1,147 (19.74%)
Should each school day extend one hour Monday through Thursday to have Fridays off?
Yes – 4,392 (75.41%)
No – 1,432 (24.59%)
Grades 9-12: 5,216 votes
Mitt Romney – 2,978 (57.3%)
Barack Obama – 1,644 (31.63%)
Should it be a violation of Florida law to talk or text while driving, unless it’s a hands-free device?
Yes – 3,812 (73.73%)
No – 1,358 (26.27%)
Should offshore oil drilling be allowed within 50 miles of the Florida coastline?
No – 3,876 (75.07%)
Yes – 1,287 (24.93%)
Should high school have a later start time, which would cause a later release time?
No – 3,357 (64.79%)
Yes – 1,824 (35.21%)
The Kids Vote, Too and Teens Vote, Too programs aim to build a life-long interest and habit in voting by conducting mock internet elections in all Okaloosa County public schools during presidential and gubernatorial election years. Okaloosa County Elections Supervisor Paul Lux and the Okaloosa County School District manage the programs.
“It gives the children a chance to see what the voting process is like and see what their parents go through when they go to vote,” said Lynda Cihanowic, a second grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School and Kids Vote, Too coordinator.
To prepare for Election Day, Cihanowic attended a workshop earlier in the year to learn what to do and how to run the election in her school.
Giordano Capotosto, an Antioch Elementary School fourth-grader, said it is important to vote so “you can choose your own president and other people like that so you know who you voted for and who should be picked.”
“We need to vote for the people who are going to run our country and every single person’s vote counts,” said Haley Peters, a Riverside Elementary School fifth-grader.
“I would think that everyone’s vote should count,” said Dylan Keith, an Antioch Elementary School fourth-grader. “But no, the kids’ votes do not really count. You have to be 18 or older to vote.”
Though students’ votes didn’t factor into the country’s real results, students learned about what’s to come when they’re adults.
“I learned that when you vote, you can see who you voted for and see if they win because you voted for them,” said Haiden Harper, an Antioch Elementary School fourth-grader.
Caitlin Nagy, a Davidson Middle School sixth-grader, said that it is important to vote “so that we can all be heard for who we think should be president.”
Olivia Eslinger, another Davidson sixth-grader, said she prepared to vote by “listening to the news to see what all the candidates did.”
Visit http://www.kidsvote-okaloosa.com or http://www.teensvote-okaloosa.com for more information.