Angie Gonzalez crouched behind the red and purple folders set up on her desk and filled out her “PS 24 official ballot” in privacy.
She creased the rectangular slip of paper in two, folded her hands over it and waited for the PS 24 Parents’ Association to collect ballots for the school’s mock presidential election Monday.
“It’s cool that it’s our first time voting,” Angie said, while explaining that her mom, a Dominican Republic native, became a citizen just weeks before Election Day. “I’m really excited because my mom is so excited. She’s been like, ‘I got to vote. I got to vote. I got to vote.’”
After weeks of discussing issues such as education and the economy, Angie and her fourth grade peers stuffed their ballots into a cardboard box adorned with a blue ribbon.
Before voting, students filled out voter registration cards identifying them by class. Their signatures certified the statement: “I am a PS 24 student and I understand that I am hereby eligible to vote.”
Next, students received ballots instructing them to either cast a vote for President Barack Obama, former governor Mitt Romney or write in a candidate of their choice. Headshots were printed beside the Republican and Democratic candidates’ names. The PA went from classroom to classroom Monday, before beginning to tally 845 votes.
For many students, including Lisa Perez, voting in PS 24’s mock election was just a warm-up. Lisa, 11, shouted, “ooh, ooh, ooh” when PA poll workers entered her classroom. She said she was eager to accompany her older sister to the polls Tuesday, “because she never voted, not even when she was little in school.”
Kayla Clarke, a fifth grader, said she was no stranger to the polls. She accompanied her mother last Election Day and her grandpa is a poll worker.
“I’ve been to so many polls … But I never know exactly what happens behind the curtain,” she said.
Kayla said Mr. Obama earned her support during the morning news shows she often watched while getting ready for school.