Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features >  Washington Voices

WV student vote on par with election

Superintendent hopes exercise helps make future voters

The results of the West Valley School District’s mock election are in, and they largely match the results of the general election.

The junior classes at West Valley High School, the RiverCity Academy and Spokane Valley High School wrote election guides so students at every school in the district could participate. Elementary students only voted in the presidential election.

“It is our hope that participating in the district’s mock registration and election will increase the likelihood that students will register to vote on their 18th birthday and begin participating in democracy as soon as possible,” said Superintendent Gene Sementi in a letter to parents.

West Valley students predicted the national results, picking President Barak Obama with 1,568 votes (59.6 percent) while Gov. Mitt Romney received 1,069 (40.4 percent). Of the 10 schools in the district, Obama won at eight – only at Pasadena Park and Seth Woodard Elementary did Romney win, by very close margins.

The students picked Sen. Maria Cantwell over Michael Baumgartner with 613 votes to 571. On Tuesday, Cantwell won, too. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers brought in 798 votes, beating Rich Cowan with 714. She won in Tuesday’s election as well. In the governor’s race, Jay Inslee beat Rob McKenna, 837 to 629. While the race as of Wednesday was still very close, Inslee was leading in the general election.

The students veered from general election results in one of Spokane Valley’s hotly contested races: They picked Amy Biviano over incumbent Rep. Matt Shea, 737 to 631. Shea won the general election.

Students also voted on two initiatives.

Students rejected Initiative 1185, which continues the requirement of a supermajority for tax increases. Registered voters approved it.

Students approved Initiative 1240, which establishes charter schools. As of Wednesday morning, the tally was close but leaning toward approval

Much like real elections, the district assigned electoral votes for the two presidential candidates. Obama handily won the electoral college with 301 electoral votes. Romney received 73.

Sementi said teachers will be able to use the results to compare and contrast with the real election

Regardless the outcomes, students got a taste of how the election process works. District officials hope it is a lesson students will take with them through the rest of their lives.

“The only way democracy works is when citizens, young and old, exercise their right to vote and are active in the electoral process,” Sementi said.