Carson High seniors cast votes in mock election

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealCarson High School seniors Cailin Jones and Sydney Knorzer, both 17, vote in the school’s mock election on Wednesday.

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealCarson High School seniors Cailin Jones and Sydney Knorzer, both 17, vote in the school’s mock election on Wednesday.

If the election were up to Carson High School seniors, Barack Obama would handily win the presidential race and the Knowledge and Discovery Center would go forward by a narrow margin.“It will be interesting to compare their results to the Carson City results and national results,” said government teacher Angila Golik. Golik organized the mock election where seniors could cast their votes Tuesday and Wednesday on the presidential race, along with congressional and senatorial choices and local races, including school board and Carson City Question 1. “A lot of these guys are right on the cusp of voting,” Golik said. “They’re all going to be out in the real world in the next six months. These issues are important to them. This gives them a chance to voice their opinions on those issues.”Of the 375 students who participated, 226 voted for Obama compared to 118 for his Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Gary Johnson, Libertarian, received 14 votes and Virgil Goode of the Independent American Party received 13 votes.Cailin Jones, 17, said Obama’s win was likely a reflection of students’ parents’ beliefs. “I feel a lot more parents are Democrats and people follow that,” she said. “They don’t look at the issues themselves.”Kenzie Tillit, 17, countered that the issues important to youth line up more closely with Obama’s platform. “I think Obama is just relatable to the younger citizens. He makes it more his mission to reach the younger generations,” she said. “We’re looking more at the social issues. That’s all we care about now. We don’t have the responsibility of taxes right now and other things that our parents deal with.”Alana Stella, 18, said she can see why her peers would vote for Obama. “We’re made up of a lot of low-income families,” she said. “Obama seems to talk to that group. He’s always talking about his grandma and stuff.”However, Alana, who cast her early vote Tuesday in the real election, chose Mitt Romney.“I agree with most of his views,” she said. “I feel like Obama’s not been good for small businesses and my dad owns a small business.”Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 6, Sydney Knorzer, 17, will join a group of her classmates in January on a trip to Washington, D.C. organized by Golik to attend the 2013 presidential Inauguration.“No matter who gets elected, I want to be there,” she said. “It’s just going to be a cool experience to see the president get inaugurated. I think it will be a life-changing experience.”Students also could cast votes on local issues, such as the proposal to build an expanded library and technology hub, known as the Knowledge and Discovery Center. It calls for a quarter-cent increase in sales tax, estimated to cost the average taxpayer about $12.50 a year.Daniela Carillo, 17, voted against it. “I would vote no just because of the huge tax increase,” she said. “They could always improve the current library. Instead of raising taxes, they could do something else to raise the money.”Morgan Fine, 17, also opposed it. “I voted no because the technology they’re supposedly bringing will probably already be outdated by the time it is finished,” she said. “Then we’ll be facing the same problem.”However, the initiative passed 197 votes to 164.The students chose incumbent Mark Amodei for Nevada’s 1st District of the U.S. House of Representatives by 141 votes over Samuel Koepnick’s 121.Sen. Dean Heller won by a landslide over his opponent Shelley Berkley, by 249 votes to 84.For the Carson City School Board, Laurel Crossman beat Donnie Moellendorf, who dropped out of the race last week, by 184 votes to 152. Joe Cacioppo won by a large margin of 246 votes to Alice Mueller’s 98.Students also ranked issues most important to them. The top five were the economy, education, unemployment, energy prices and abortion. Foreign policy, taxes and the environment fell to the bottom of the list.While the results may mean little when it comes to the general election, students said the mock exercise will help familiarize them with the democratic process. “It gives us an idea of what’s coming in the future,” said Gaby Ayala, 17. “How to use our voice.”


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