Elementary students hit the polls

CAMPAIGN SEASON: Galen Switzer, a fourth grader at Brookside Elementary School, votes for one of his classmates as president. The students gave speeches on Tuesday.

BIG RAPIDS – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have nothing on Brookside Elementary School fourth graders when it comes to wooing voters and addressing issues relevant to their constituents.

Students in Dave Byrnes’ class held their own election to decide a class president and vice president on Tuesday – complete with campaign speeches, posters and policies on homework, class rules and ways to improve their learning.

“I would try to have more free time, since kids need time to move around. It’s hard for them to focus for a long period of time,” Sam Scott said when proposing improvements to the class during his campaign speech.

BIG DECISION: Crossroads second grader Hanna Davidson fills out her ballot. The elementary school elected Mitt Romney as U.S. president.

After the students’ votes were tallied, President Frances Arquette and Vice president Guin Walczewski were declared the winners. Eight pairs of students in the class ran for election, with platforms that included no bullying, improved Accelerated Reader scores and reducing the amount of disruptions in class.

The class also voted for the U.S. president, electing Obama with 15 votes to Romney’s five.

Crossroads Charter Academy elementary school held its own election; students left class to turn in their voter registration cards and fill out ballots in the hallway. In their election, Romney defeated Obama by a 157-94 margin in the

Electoral College. The popular vote tally was 210 for Romney and 180 for Obama.

“(A good president is) respectful and cares for other people and not just himself,” said Zach Bartell, a third grader at Crossroads. “I think (the president) shouldn’t just go spend all our money. They should save it and get what they need, and they could also give some to the poor people.”

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ELECTION KNOWLEDGE: Dave Byrnes asks his fourth-grade class questions about the Electoral College and how the voting process works. His class at Brookside held its own election on Tuesday, with students campaigning to be president and vice president.

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