Even though most of them cannot yet legally vote, many of Westport’s students are getting an important lesson in politics this presidential election year. Students at Coleytown Middle School and Staples High School will be participating in mock elections held at their schools right before Election Day. To prepare for those mock elections, they are learning both about the essential mechanical steps required to register to vote as well as the all-important decision-making process for selecting the candidate of their choice.
James D’Amico, chairman of the Social Studies Department for grades 6-12, said the focus at both schools is to make the process as authentic and interesting as possible so the students get a real feel for the importance of exercising the civic right to vote and for learning about the issues and positions of the candidates as well.
At Coleytown Middle School, all 400 students were asked to register to vote in advance of their Nov. 1 mock election. While they do not have to select a political party, they will each get voter ID cards which they must remember to bring to the mock election in order to be able to vote. “If they don’t register by election day, they can’t vote,” said D’Amico, “and if they forget their voter ID cards they can’t vote either (but perhaps they will come up with a backup plan so they can vote after all).