Teachers might have impacted voter turn out

By Juliet Leyba Daily Planet Staff
Friday November 03, 2000

Philosophical differences between faculty and teachers at Berkeley High School may have had an effect on the turn out of Thursday’s mock election, Helene Lecar, League of Women Voters educational liaison said. 

According to Lecar, this year’s student voter turnout was significantly lower than at previous mock elections. 

Lecar said that only 340 of the schools’ 3,500 students cast their vote this year compared to more than 700 during the previous election. 

“The difference this year was that some teachers chose to give students the opportunity to register in class and brought them to the polling booth and some did not. Leaving it entirely up to them, just like in the real world.” 

What many teachers may not have known is that this year the mock election was being sponsored by CNN nationwide. The mock election, which operates under rules set down by Congress, was designed to teach students and teachers about the voting process and the benefits of civic participation by involving them in a realistic stimulation of all aspects of the electoral process. 

“It’s unfortunate that so many students didn’t have that opportunity,” Lecar said. “But, maybe when they hear the results it will be a wake up call.” 

According to CNN the mock election drew more than 1 million voters, the majority of which voted for republican candidate George W. Bush. A technical problem, created by the large volume of participants, made the exact count unavailable at press time. 

“Students Natalie Magana and Anya Lopez were disappointed that they were turned away at the polling booth. 

“I wasn’t aware that the election was even happening. My second period teacher doesn’t always read the bulletin because it’s so long and by the time I figured it out the registration date had passed,” Magana said. 

Ben Giustine, 15, said that he didn’t vote because he didn’t know it was going to make such an impact. 

“I should’ve registered and voted. I didn’t have any of the information and no one let me in on where to go and what to do.” 

One teacher commented that in the real world people don’t register in groups and they don’t vote in groups. 

“If you don’t register, you can’t vote. That’s how it is in the real world.”