History class holds mock presidential election for students

Trump receives majority of votes, echoing results of national election

Caroline Barger

More stories from Caroline Barger


Caroline Barger

Junior Bruno Duran casts his ballot during the mock election on election day, Nov. 8.

On Nov. 8, instead of simply teaching his students about election processes from a textbook, social studies teacher Dennis Wedel gave his students an inside look at the democratic process. His class held a mock election for high school students and also conducted an over-the-phone survey of Harvey County registered voters.

“I think it’s fun for the students to understand how important it is to vote when they leave school, if they want to make any changes at all they are going to need to learn that they need to take responsibility and vote. If we don’t show that now then it probably won’t get done,” Wedel said.

This year has been the first in eight that Wedel has allowed his students to hold a mock election.

“I started working at the high school in 2006 so we did one in 2008. I don’t think we did one in 2012, we did an online one instead,” Wedel said.
Students in Wedel’s class now understand the importance of learning about US elections.

“I feel that it is very important [for students to be informed about politics], because it allows students to get involved in the economic system. It is important seeing that we are the future generation of adults,” senior Noah Whiteside said.

Harvey County election officer Rick Piepho provided a list of all the registered voters in Harvey County to Wedel and his class. The students then conducted a blind survey only knowing the phone number and the party of the voter that they would be contacting.

“The goal was to get through around 1500 when we were done but we ended up getting around 600. We ended up getting about a fifth [125 people] to respond,” Wedel said.

In both the mock election and the over-the-phone poll, Donald Trump was the winner. However, in the poll, write-ins came in second, which was not the case with the mock election. The results for fourth and fifth place [Jill Stein and Gary Johnson] also were opposite in the mock election. Overall, this mock election has given the students a new perspective on national elections.

“I think it has helped a great deal, because it has taught us more about the laws that this country was based on, and it has also taught us how we can help improve those laws. It has allowed us to see the election process from a new perspective, instead of just from a textbook,” Whiteside said.