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Brookview students take to the polls

“Here’s your ballot,” said Emily Kaufman, a Brookview 5th grader, as she handed a sheet of paper to a 2nd grade student. “You can just color the box, circle the picture or put an ‘X’ next to the person you want to vote for. Pick 1 for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and up to 5 for school board.”

As younger students entered the Media Center, Emily and a dozen other student election judges explained the process of voting in the school’s mock election. Some greeted students and asked them to sign their name on the voter roll, while others handed out ballots and helped kids find their way to the booth. As one fifth grader sat at the table instructing voters where to place their ballots, the final pair of election judges handed out “I’ve Voted” stickers.

“The end goal is to give students a very authentic voting experience,” said Rebecca Biel, the district’s curriculum coordinator who organized the Students Voting program at Brookview this year. The statewide mock election is run by the Secretary of State’s Office as a way to educate students on the election process. “It’s important for them to think about voting - even at a young age - because it is how they can be civically engaged. This really normalizes voting and helps kids understand this is what you do.”

In the days leading up to Friday’s mock election day, teachers at each grade level taught their students age appropriate lessons on elections and voting. The kids discussed what experiences and skills they thought a good leader should have, and learned a little bit about the background of each candidate in the Governor race and the district school board election.

“It’s your decision who you want to vote for and you shouldn't let anyone tell you otherwise,” said Maddie Mathiason, one of the 5th grade volunteers.

“And you can’t get mad at someone for voting for a different person if they think someone else would be better,” added her classmate Cadence Vang.

Students at all grade levels had the chance to cast their ballot on Brookview’s election day, and results were tabulated at the end of the day and reported back to kids. Winners of the school’s Governor race were also reported to the Secretary of State’s office to be included in the statewide Students Voting results.


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