Christian Heritage picks McCain in student vote | SteamboatToday.com

Christian Heritage picks McCain in student vote

School's Tuesday ballot was part of the National Student/Parent Mock Election event

Zach Fridell

Ninth graders Sara Pugh, Aimee Lotz and Melodie Houston get "I voted Stickers" from history and government teacher Melissa Weisberg, who dressed like Sarah Palin, after voting at Christian Heritage School's mock election Tuesday afternoon.

— Republican presidential hopeful John McCain won in a landslide Tuesday.

Students in fifth through 12th grade at Christian Heritage School cast their ballots Tuesday for their presidential pick, with McCain sweeping other candidates with 42 of the 63 votes. Democrat Barack Obama and independent Ralph Nader tied for second with nine votes apiece.

Students cited reasons from the economy to abortion as their deciding factor.

Andrea Clark, a sixth-grader, said she cast her vote for McCain because she agreed with his stances.

“I voted for him because he’s a Republican, and I’m a Republican, and he doesn’t support abortion,” she said.

The poll, organized by Melissa Weisberg’s Advanced Placement Government class, is part of the National Student/Parent Mock Election. Voting will conclude later this week and national results will be announced before the general election Nov. 4.

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The Christian Heritage School event also had some bipartisan electioneering at the polls by both major party candidates, with seniors John Cutter in a McCain mask and Jared Finch in an Obama mask. The seniors said they picked the masks by chance, but they also supported the candidate they represented.

Weisberg joined the students. She dressed as Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Weisberg said she expected McCain to win the students votes, but she was surprised Obama garnered as many votes as he did – even though he earned just 14 percent of the total.

“I was a little bit surprised how many votes Obama got, just from hearing the kids talk. It was higher than I thought,” she said.

Despite the tide against them, Kirsten Williams and Leah Berdine showed their support for Obama by wearing homemade T-shirts with his name, peace signs and pro-Obama stickers.

Both of the sophomores said they had visited the Obama campaign headquarters in Steamboat Springs and weren’t afraid to show their preference, even though they were outnumbered.

“Up to today, I haven’t been very bold about what I thought,” Williams said. “My school is totally pro-McCain, and I was intimidated.”

Williams said the visit to the headquarters also inspired her to work for the campaign, which she will do in the days leading up to the national vote.

“My parents are pro-Obama, but even if they were voting McCain, I would support Obama,” she said.

Libertarian candidate Bobb Barr, HeartQuake ’08 candidate Jonathan Allen and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney also received one vote from the students.