Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade had a lesson in civic responsibility at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School. They casted their ballots in a school-wide mock election, and this year’s event has a 2020 twist, with “mail-in” voting.
Kyrene de la Colina 4th grade teacher Kevin McDonald organizes the election event and goes to great lengths to make it as authentic as possible. With a global pandemic driving many real-world voters to mail in their ballots this year, McDonald prepared Colina’s 2020 mock election with similar safety measures in mind.
In past years, students have lined up at polling sites to cast their votes. This year, they stuffed and stickered hundreds of yellow envelopes instead, and on November 3, students in every grade level filled out their ballots and “mail” them in to be counted. Students currently enrolled in distance learning filled out electronic ballots, so that all citizens of the Colina community will have the chance to participate.
“The goal is to develop an understanding of what an election is, and why voting is so important,” McDonald says. “We also discuss that we are allowed to have our own opinions, but they can be private, and it is okay that we might not want to discuss those thoughts or feelings with everyone. The students learn we need to respect each other even if our opinions are different.”
In the weeks leading up to the election, students viewed presentations on voting, read books and played online games to learn about the voting process.
On election day, select classrooms will be responsible for collecting and counting the ballots, to better understand the importance of an accurate count.
McDonald says the ultimate goal is to encourage children to become educated and excited about voting, so that they grow up to be productive citizens who participate in their communities.
Due to COVID-19, Kyrene School District is not currently allowing media on campus during the school day.