PHS students choose McCain in mock election

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer

Maybe there is hope for John McCain yet.

Based on the results of a vote by students in Mark Gallegos’ government classes at Portales High School, the Arizona Republican won by a slight margin.

Citing Barack Obama’s nationwide popularity among young voters, Gallegos was surprised by the result based on essays from among the more than 80 students in his classes in which they are asked to pick a winner.

“Our kids are very, very conservative,” Gallegos said. “It was pretty close, but I was surprised.”

Freshman Collin McAfee voted about two weeks ago.

“I am (interested) in the campaign,” McAfee said. “The person I voted for had a pretty good suggestion for the economy.”

Collin’s parents Sherry and Mark have already voted early, and are glad that their son taking part in the political process — even on a school level.

“Kids have talked a lot about politics, and I think it makes them a little bit more aware,” Sherri said.

In addition to the essays, Gallegos’ government students were among about 225 PHS students taking part in a nationwide school mock online election.

The site, www.nationalmockelection.org, has been collecting state-by-state results for about two weeks.

The results will be available today.

“They had such a big turnout nationwide,” Gallegos said, “that they extended it. They were going to close (the polling) on Friday, but they had so many schools that still wanted to vote that they are letting everybody vote all the way through the end of school (Monday).”

Portales Municipal Schools also allowed elementary and junior high students to vote in their own mock elections, which Gallegos believes will pay benefits later in their schooling.

“You can build on that. If we have our first-graders (voting),” Gallegos explained, “By the time we get them in high school, we can teach them the process.”

McCain visited Roswell as part of his final strategy campaign blitz Monday night, and Gallegos explained to his student why we incorporate the electoral college to elect our president.

“The hard part for kids to understand is the electoral college,” Gallegos said. “And I tell them that (that process) makes them go to some of the smaller states, because (New Mexico’s) five electoral votes become important.”