Hopkins Votes engages students in learning about democracy

November 06, 2008

Hopkins Votes, Hopkins Public Schools' new student voter education program, gave all students the opportunity to vote in school on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Learning about democracy

Hopkins Votes engaged students in learning about democracy, government, and civic responsibilities. Voting opportunities included:

  • At the elementary level, students voted for president using an online ballot. Classroom teachers promoted learning activities to build understanding of the election process.
  • At the junior high level, students voted for president and for state senator. The Electoral College was a focus of learning, with homerooms voting as members of the College. Social studies teachers focused learning activities on the election and the election process.
  • At the senior high level, students voted for president and state senator, using both the popular and electoral vote processes. Social studies teachers provided students with information and learning activities. There were newspaper articles focusing on the election process in The Royal Page. Social Studies Teacher John Unruh-Friesen and Audio/Video Paraprofessional Jason McEwen prepared a how-to video for students, which was available on YouTube.


Sunsetting previous program

The decision was made to sunset the previous program, Kids Voting, because of the declining number of students going to the polls with their parents.

Election results

Hopkins students in kindergarten through 12th grade voted for president. Barack Obama swept the election with a total of 5,189 of the popular vote. John McCain received 1,581 of the popular vote.

At Hopkins High School, Hopkins North Junior High, and Hopkins West Junior High, students counted the popular vote and electoral vote. Barack Obama nearly had a sweep at the electoral college at Hopkins North Junior High, taking 506 electoral votes. John McCain's sole state was Texas, with 32 electoral votes. Hopkins West Junior High had a near sweep for Barack Obama, except with one state-Louisiana-tied 7 to 7. The school's Student Council decided the outcome of the electoral votes for Louisiana. At Hopkins High School, Barack Obama received 378 of the electoral votes and John McCain received 160 of the electoral votes.

Students in 4th grade through 12th grade voted in the senate race. Al Franken was the clear winner with 2,544 votes, Norm Coleman received 1,476 votes, and Dean Barkley received 726 votes.

High School students also voted for the Third Congressional race. Ashwin Madia won with 870 votes. Erik Paulsen received 483 votes and David Dillon received 202.

Awed by students illustrating democracy in action

"I traveled around to many of the schools and was awed by the students illustrating democracy in action," said Kathryn Anderson, Hopkins Public Schools' social studies curriculum coordinator. "I saw kindergartners enthusiastically wearing ‘Vote' buttons, upper elementary classmates eagerly helping 1st graders with the voting process, and junior high students waiting in anticipation for the electoral college results. I also heard high school students stating that even though they may not have been eligible voters for this election, they were very excited to participate in an election process during this historical national election. Thanks so much to all who participated in this event. It was truly amazing to see our students these past months learn the democratic election process and then participate in this process."

Program development

Hopkins Votes was developed by Kathryn Anderson, Hopkins Public Schools' social studies curriculum coordinator, district social studies teachers, and Barb Westmoreland, the district's volunteer and community partnerships coordinator. Sponsors of Hopkins Votes include city of Hopkins Clerk's Office, Community Education, Hopkins American Legion, Hopkins Parent Teacher Organizations, Hopkins Rotary, Hopkins Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Infinite Campus, Inc.

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