Mock elections stir political discussion at Dudley Magnet Elementary School
Oct. 30, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.
Updated Oct. 31, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.
Her pen went up and down a list of names registered to vote at Dudley Magnet Elementary School's mock elections.
Dudley students from kindergarten through fifth grade cast their votes for president Tuesday afternoon.
Margaret Liu, 10, said she would be casting her ballot for the Republican nominee and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
"He wants to cut taxes," Margaret said. "That's important to me."
Fifth-grade teacher Andrea Pope helped her students direct voter traffic.
"Most of what they knew starting out about the elections came from their parents," Pope said. "We're just happy that parents are talking about the debates at home."
The mock elections were nothing new to the fifth-graders organizing the mock election.
Four years ago, they voted in the Barack Obama and John McCain race as first-graders.
The mock elections are a longtime Dudley tradition, said event coordinator Mary Silkey.
"And now we're the older ones," Daniel Martinez said. "It's cool because the younger kids look up to us now."
Tino Sanchez, 11, said he doesn't trust Romney.
"For a while my mom and I lived off food stamps, and I don't think Romney supports that," Tino said. "If Romney is president, other families may not have the same chances we did."
Tino and his neighbor Joshua Arent, 10, said they both grew up in single-parent homes.
After realizing what the two had in common with the incumbent candidate, who also grew up in a single-parent home, Joshua said Obama was going to be his best bet.
"Romney is too focused on Iran," Joshua said. "Sometimes candidates forget what they're supposed to do."
Some students had other candidates in mind.
Wearing mustache-shaped earrings, Aysha Izaguirre, 11, said, she thought Michelle Obama, the first lady, would have made a good president.
"I wish we had better candidates," said 10-year-old McKinesey Kuester. "Hilary Clinton should have run."
After three counts of the 532 ballots cast by students and teachers, Obama came out ahead by 250 votes.
"One student came over to me and said they had voted on the issues most important to them," Silkey said. "That showed a lot of maturity. I was very pleased to know they were voting as informed citizens should."