Clark Magnet High School teacher helps students understand the electoral process.
By Mary O’KEEFE
On Tuesday, it was teenagers who were setting a good example for adults to follow at Clark Magnet High School.
Students in teacher Nick Doom’s AP (advance placement) government and standard government classes hosted a mock election in the school’s cafetorium where students could experience what it is like to exercise their right to vote.
The ballot the students grappled with wasn’t quite as long as voters will have to deal with on Nov. 6. Students voted for the offices of the president and senate as well as all the propositions. They discussed the election in class, did research and, like their adult counterparts, each had their own opinions.
Three friends debated Proposition 37, the Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling initiative statute, which requires “labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as ‘natural.’ Provides exemptions. Fiscal Impact: Increased annual state costs from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods,” according to the California Secretary of State website.
George Hamalian and Matthew Davidian, both sophomores, argued that the labeling would hurt farmers, Hamalian adding that it would increase taxes. According to the Secretary of State office, the proposition, if passed, would increase costs to the state on regulation issues but the proposition is not a state tax.
“How would that increase our taxes?” Arthur Gasparyan asked.
Davidian explained that it would hurt farmers and he felt it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
But Gasparyan was not swayed.
“I am for it. I think people should know what they are buying,” he said. “When I buy food, I look at the label and compare. I don’t know why farmers would complain about telling [us] what is in their food.”
The conversations were lively, which the students enjoyed. Peter B. Lee, a senior, praised Doom for his efforts in getting students involved.
“He is very impartial in his lessons,” Lee said.
The students in the government classes attended both Republican and Democratic clubs and heard representatives speak on current issues.
“We also watched all the debates as assignments,” Lee added.
Fellow senior Peter Simpson said it was important for people to vote because a society functions better with a wide variety of perspectives. He added that it was important for people to make an effort to educate themselves on the issues and the candidates vying for votes, however even if a person does not feel they know enough about an issue, or candidate, they should still vote.
Before the mock election, Lee was not certain who would win the races as voted on by his fellow classmates.
“We have a lot of conservatives here … so [Mitt] Romney may get a good turn out,” he said. “But we are a Title I school, so [President Barack] Obama may get [a good turn out, too].”
Title I is determined by the financial makeup of the students at a school. If there are a number of students with a low-income background, the school receives special funding through Title I. Obama supporters are associated more with the low- and middle-class, whereas Romney supporters are traditionally associated with the upper-middle and upper-class.
This is the third election Doom has done with his class, and the results are running at a 50-50 accuracy rate to the actual outcomes.
“In 2004, John Kerry won the mock election, in 2008 Obama won,” Doom said.
He hasn’t noticed a change in interest in the election over the years. Last year there was a lot of interest with candidate Obama.
“It varies from class to class but many of the student are still excited about Obama,” he said.
A few of Doom’s seniors are 18 and will vote for the first time this election. Several of them are poll workers on Tuesday.
The purpose of the mock election was to get kids engaged in the political process, which was evident as the students debated propositions and candidates. And, unlike many of the adult politicians, they were able to joke around with each other though completely disagreeing with each other. They even stood beside the cardboard likeness of their favorite candidates. Artash Sughyan and Vahe Kazariants stood next to Romney, while Anahit Kardzhyan stood next to Obama. They joked with each other, smiled for the camera and went back to class. No name calling, no mean words were exchanged.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. To find information on what will be on the ballot, visit www.lavote.net. For information on the location of polling places, visit www.glendalevotes.org or www.lavote.net and click on Registration Status.
For more information, call (800) 815-2666 for Glendale, or (800) 345-8683 for the California Secretary of State.
The results of Clark Magnet
High School’s Mock Election:
Obama (Democratic Party) won the election with 62% of the vote; Romney (Republican Party) received 28%; Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) received 6%; Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom Party) received 2%; Jill Stein (Green Party) received 1%; and Thomas Hoefling (American Independent Party) received 1 %.
Dianne Feinstein(D) received 69% of the vote,
Elizabeth Emken (R) received 31%.
Prop 30: Yes
Temporary Taxes to Fund Education
Prop 31: Yes
State Budget, State and Local Government Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute
Prop 32: No
Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction.
Prop 33: Yes
Auto Insurance Companies, prices based on driver’s history.
Prop 34: Yes
Death Penalty Initiative
Prop 35: Yes
Human Trafficking Penalties Initiative
Prop. 36: Yes
Three Strike Law
Prop 37: Yes
Genetically Engineered Foods
Prop 38: Yes
Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs
Prop 39: Yes
Tax Treatment for Multi-state Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding
Prop 40: No
Redistricting, State Senate Districts Referendum