Students Participate in AHS Mock Election

Alex Leslie and Melanie Arthur

On Oct 29 and 30 of this week all students in core social studies classes reported to the library to cast their ballot in Albemarle mock election and possibly nab a cookie while fulfilling their civic responsibility.

It is projected that between 1,500 and 1,600 students have participated in the mock election.

All seniors participated in a mock election project. Students campaigned for either the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General candidates in Albemarle County and Virginia.

According to AP Government teacher Julie Strong, Albemarle High School was the first school in the country to collaborate with UVA’s Center for Politics, which created the Youth Leadership Initiative to host mock elections across the nation. Strong is a liaison with the Center for Politics and organizes the election at AHS.

“A lot of high school students don’t know who these people are,” Strong said. The elections are meant to educate all students at Albemarle and provide experiences for the government students about working in a real election.

Government students researched their candidate and the issues he supports.

“The goal [for students] is to put together as much information to inform students about their vote,” said Government teacher Hal Hankins. “They get the feel of running a campaign and how they would spend their time and resources if they were in a real election.”

Seniors informed the lowerclassmen of the policies that each candidate supports. Students have also been debating in their government classes over the “real world” issues that candidates must make decisions on.

“We keep things pretty civil” senior Fred Gortler said. Gortler was assigned his gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, for the mock election and said this strategy “opened [his] mind to the other candidates out there that [he] didn’t know much about.”

The experience also opened the minds of voters such as senior Justin Fisher. “It started to give me an idea of how I would vote after high school,” Fisher said. “It’s important to know an adequate amount of information about the candidates before you vote.” Fisher ended up voting for a candidate he initially did not support.

Results from Albemarle’s mock election will be announced next week.