Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2004

Students re-elect President

May 20, 2004

President George W. Bush earned another four years in the White House by winning re-election late last month. Well, at least he did with students from the Basehor-Linwood School District and those across Kansas.

April 29 served as Super Thursday for local fourth- through 12th grades students as they voted in a mock election sponsored by the Johnson County Election Office. Students cast ballots for the presidency as well as three issues facing the United States they find most important.

Students here selected the incumbent as their commander-in-chief; the President earned 510 votes compared to 352 for Democratic challenger John Kerry. Ralph Nader, an Independent, earned 91 votes and Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, received 43 votes.

The voting trend in Basehor-Linwood is identical to results from students across the state. Statewide Bush received 2,164 votes, Kerry 1,806, Nader 529 and Kucinich 188.

With 534 votes, Basehor-Linwood students ranked the war in Iraq as the most important, followed by the war on terrorism, 398 votes, and No Child Left Behind Act legislation with 321 votes. National security, medicare and prescription drug coverage and funding of federal education requirements also received high voting marks.

Statewide, students voted the war in Iraq, unemployment and funding of federal education requirements as the top three issues facing the country. National security, Medicare and prescription drug coverage and No Child Left Behind Act legislation followed the top three.

Community members and members of the Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 11499, served as election officials for Basehor-Linwood schools in April. VFW members counted the ballots.

Bill Hatfield, Basehor-Linwood assistant superintendent, said the VFW was instrumental in seeing the election go off without a hitch. He expressed thanks to the VFW, specifically Liz Wiley, wife of Bob Wiley, Post 11499 commander.

"All the VFW was wonderful but she was kind of the head honcho that ran with it," Hatfield said. "They did a great job."

Hatfield said the voting results provide teachers a glimpse into issues students are concerned about.

"I think especially with social studies teachers it gives them some input on what the kids think is important," Hatfield said.

The mock election may also help students learn the importance of voting, Hatfield said. And today, at a time when young voter turnouts at elections are at all-time lows, that may be the most valuable lesson of all, the assistant superintendent said.

"That's an important lesson to teach kids," he said. "Making them understand the importance of civic responsibility."

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