Oct. 22, 2008
Students at Pinewood are casting their votes for president this week—and for many this is their first time in a voting both.
"It was fun to vote for the first time," third grader Milan Pfister said.
The Schenectady County Board of Elections has loaned Pinewood a voting booth and the school is working to educate all of its students on the voting process. All candidates on the ballot for the presidential election — Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama and all of the minor party candidates — are displayed on the machine, as they will be when Americans go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 4. The results of the election at Pinewood will be announced this Friday, Oct. 24.
"Remember, this is your opinion about who you want to be president," third-grade teacher Lori Ranze reminded her students as they prepared to enter the voting both.
Aside from voting in this "mock" election, Pinewood students are also being encouraged to visit the polls with their parents on election day through the "Take Me To Vote, Please!" program, which is sponsored by The League of Women Voters. To help with this, as students are visiting the voting booth this week, their teachers are helping them to determine which voting district they live in by looking at a map of Rotterdam.
Students are also receiving a pink slip to bring to the polling site, where poll workers have been trained to greet the children and answer any questions they may have about the voting process. After the election, the slips will be delivered to the county board of elections and the League of Women Voters will calculate the percentage of participation for each school. The school with the highest percentage of students who visited the polls will receive a plaque from Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton and every school will receive a certificate.
Third grader Christy Dodson is excited to take part in the Take Me To Vote, Please! program and to vote alongside her parents.
"I like to do it because when they do it they teach me how to do it," she said.