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Claudia Hirsch and Nico Madrid, fifth grade students at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York,  cast their ballot for president in the 2012 Scholastic Student Vote. (Photo credit: Scholastic)
Claudia Hirsch and Nico Madrid, fifth grade students at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York,
cast their ballot for president in the 2012 Scholastic Student Vote.
(Photo credit: Scholastic)
We are down to the last days before adults who haven't voted already go to the polls to cast their ballots. But young people across the U.S., in a wide group of polls and mock elections, have already made their choices, and the winner was Barack Obama.  

Not scientific? Cute?

Not so, say many social scientists and observers of child and youth behavior. What engages me, as a cultural anthropologist, is thinking about where children get their first enculturation—at home, then at school, from peers, in a wide variety of religious institutions and also from the media. What is very interesting is that children and teens are not always carbon copies of their parents' perspectives, since what is learned, or heard discussed at home, is affected by other variables.

These "kids" will be our future voters, and the future looks bright for the shift away from conservatism. This is not to say that all adult voters cast ballots in lock-step with what they learned at home. We've read many pieces here over the years from those raised in very conservative homes who have moved on in adulthood to join progressive ranks.  

I've been enjoying this cyber visit to schools across the nation, and elated by the intense civic engagement students are involved in. Kudos to their teachers, librarians and local school communities.

If you need a short break from intense pre-election day/night anxiety join me in taking a look at what our future voters have decided.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Fifth grade students at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York, fill out their ballots and cast their votes in the 2012 Scholastic Student Vote.

Mock elections in schools have a long history. Some are national, others are statewide, and some are organized in individual schools and districts. But no matter the scope or venue, they are an important tool in engaging our young folks in the practice of democracy.

One of the oldest, if not the oldest, is conducted by Scholastic.

The Scholastic Student Vote was launched during the 1940 Presidential election, and has been held every election year since then with the outcome reflecting that of the general election in every contest but two (in 1948 when students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman and in 1960 when more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than John F. Kennedy).
Map of Scholastic mock elections result 2012
Scholastic mock election 2012 electoral map
Al Roker interviewed youth reporters from Scholastic on the Today Show.

ChannelOne News, which is a network for teens, announced their One Vote 2012, in October, and the results are in. A relative newcomer to the field, they state:

Young people will be able to cast their OneVote ballot for the next President of the United States at OneVote.com from October 22 through October 26, with election results to be announced during a special edition broadcast on November 1.  Channel One will give teachers another method to directly engage students this year by offering print ballots to aggregate classroom voting results.  Classrooms currently utilizing Channel One InterActiv will also have the option of conducting the poll using Promethean's Learner Response devices.

Since the inception of OneVote, Channel One News has recorded millions of ballots and continues to serve as an important platform, inspiring lively and educational dialogue among teens and within the classroom about the nation's political process and freedoms.  Since 1992, OneVote has accurately predicted every November national election result.

The results are in. (with an interactive map)

National OneVote mock election results: Obama 50 percent, Romney 44 percent.
Ohio: Obama 51 percent, Romney 41 percent, other 8 percent.

Also on television is Nickelodeon's "Kids Pick the President."

The results are already in.

NEW YORK, NY—Oct. 22, 2012 – The kids of the United States have spoken and President Barack Obama has been elected the winner of Nickelodeon’s 2012 Kids Pick the President “Kids’ Vote.”  Since it began in 1988, kids have correctly picked the winner (in advance of the national election) five out of the last six times.  More than half a million votes were cast in the network’s online poll as part of Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President initiative to build young citizens’ awareness of, and involvement in, the election process.  

President Obama received 65% of the vote and former Governor Mitt Romney received 35%.  In order to more closely replicate the actual election, and to ensure the results were more authentic, this year the voting was limited to one vote per electronic device.  Kids were able to cast their votes online from Oct. 15 to Oct. 22.

Some states have their own statewide programs. For example, California has one sponsored by the California Secretary of State’s office. Results were posted on Nov. 1.

What is interesting about the California program is that students also spend time studying and debating the long list of propositions on the ballot. Nor did students reflect the choices of their parents in some areas like San Bernadino County:

The students of Redlands High didn't end up voting the way their parents might be expected to: As of Oct. 28, according to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters' office, the city has 38,000 registered voters, 16,000 of them registered Republicans, 13,000 of them registered Democrats and 7,000 of them non-partisans.
President Barrack Obama was the overwhelming favorite among the 1,383 Terriers voting, winning 782 votes compared to Mitt Romney's 381.
Some local efforts, like this one in Sioux City, Iowa, had similar results.
Results at the end of school day show President Barack Obama beat Governor Romney by a landslide.  417, to 191.  This is the first time Spaulding Park Elementary has held a mock election.  School administrators say, if possible, they'd like to bring it back in 2016
Pearson's mock election, My Voice, My Election was extended due to Hurricane Sandy. So no results in yet.  

So to you adults over 18 who are voters—let this be a challenge.

Let's not let kids show us up.

Let’s see if we can give our president better numbers than our young folks did.

Get Out The Vote.  

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