Chester County student votes differ from US results for the first time
Downingtown, PA – “I wish that whoever is elected leads our country with courage, integrity and intelligence. And that any challenge thrown at our country will be resolved in the manner in which our Founding Fathers established for our country.” This is the wish Laser Frederick, a student at St. Agnes School, shared for our country at the Kids Voting Kick Off Ceremony on October 25.
Since its inception in 1996, students in Chester County have accurately predicted the presidential winners through Kids Voting USA. The winning streak ended this year, however, with students aligning their presidential pick with the voters of Chester County and nominating Hillary Clinton as the winner, which did not reflect the national outcome.
have all been tallied and, for the first time in six elections, Chester County students
from 41 schools have inaccurately predicted the outcome of the presidential
race. Fifty-six percent of the Student Vote went to Hillary Clinton. Thirty-two
percent of students cast their ballot for Donald Trump; and Libertarian Gary
Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received six percent and five
percent of the student vote, respectively.
According to Jennifer Shealy, Chester County Intermediate (CCIU) special events coordinator, as part of the project, students studied the candidates and issues of the campaign leading up to Election Day.
“In addition to classroom preparation, parents were encouraged to spend time with their children discussing candidates and issues, as well as gather information from media outlets,” said Shealy. “After the research portion of the project was complete, students took part in a voting experience using a ballot that mirrors that of the actual election ballot with the same candidates and issues.”
Each of the participating schools had the ability to take varying approaches to integrating the Kids Voting project into their school.
Chester County students were invited to vote online for their federal, state and local candidates from November 1 through November 8, 2016. The purpose of this “practice” voting is to dispel the mysteries of the voting process and reinforce the knowledge and skills gained through Kids Voting classroom activities.
“Kids Voting provides students the opportunity to be involved with and understand the voting process a bit more,” said Shealy. “Some parents take their children to the voting booth with them which is a wonderful way to model citizenship. Having the opportunity to vote in school provides the experience for all children.”
To kick off the project, which is coordinated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), a Kids Voting Kick Off Ceremony took place in October at the Chester County Historic Courthouse in West Chester.
The ceremony included student testimonials on the meaning of democracy, a mock voter registration for students and a “wish for the future” ceremony during which students share their hopes for the country. Students also heard words from the Honorable Ryan Costello, United States House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District and Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone.
Costello offered wisdom to the students saying, “No matter what issue you prioritize when voting, and even if your side does not win, our freedom to express our opinions through exercising our right to vote is always worth practicing.”
According to the organization, Kids Voting USA is a national network of community-based affiliates that partner with schools and election officials to offer students in kindergarten through grade 12 a wide range of opportunities for civic learning. It is the combination of classroom instruction, family dialogue and an authentic voting experience that makes Kids Voting USA a powerful strategy for achieving long-term change in voting behavior.
A video of the kickoff ceremony is accessible at www.cciu.org/KidsVoting.
For more information on Kids Voting, please visit www.cciu.org/KidsVoting, or contact Jennifer Shealy, CCIU special events coordinator, at JenniferSh@cciu.org.
Photo Caption: Pictured here are St. Agnes School students at the 2016 Chester County Kids Voting Kick Off Ceremony. Students from 41 county schools cast their ballots in the Kids Voting project.