Thursday, November 8, 2012

Democracy by Doing--Part 4

"Why don't we vote by raising our hands," asked Aliciana.

"We do sometimes," answered Ms. Murphy," but this time we are voting the same way that adults vote for president.  We'll use secret ballots.  That way you can choose to vote for whatever pet you want. If you're in the Gecko Party, but after thinking about it, decided that a fish is better, you can vote for the fish without feeling any pressure.  No one will know your decision, but you."

It was finally Election Day for Ms. Murphy's second grade class.  After a few weeks of campaigning, they were voting for their new class pet.

Ms. Murphy showed them how to go to the booth and write down their choices on the big yellow Post-its.  Then she demonstrated folding the paper up so no one could see it while they walked to slip it in the ballot box.  

"Will your vote count?" someone called out.

"No," Ms. Murphy said.  "Adults are the only ones who can vote for president.  Here, kids are the only ones allowed to vote for our class pet."

Then the action began.  Kids took their pencils and Post-it and sat in the "voting booth" that had sides so no one could see their writing. Then they folded their ballot--one, two, three times--and took it to the box.

Then they folded their ballot--one, two, three times--and took it to the box.  

Principal Brawer popped his head in and added to the discussion.  "Sometimes voting is hard," he said.  "People make their choices and can feel bad when lose.  The same thing happens to adults who vote for the candidate who isn't elected president.  It's still important to all come together and support the winner of an election--whether it's a president or a hermit crab."

But would the pet be a hermit crab?  The tally began.  Vote after vote came out of the box and Ms. Murphy made mark beneath the candidates. For a while it was hard to know that animal was going to win.

Then the votes for the gecko surged.  The gecko won!

From this picture, it looks like most of the kids were pretty happy.  Maybe they took Mr. Brawer's words to heart.  Maybe they were just all excited that they would soon have a brand new member of the class.