Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Students from Bob Summer's U.S. History class at Kenai Middle School got the chance to cast their ballots in a mock election held Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. The students learned about the electoral college system and filled out sample ballots for U.S. President and senator and Congressman from Alaska.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Students from Bob Summer's U.S. History class at Kenai Middle School got the chance to cast their ballots in a mock election held Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. The students learned about the electoral college system and filled out sample ballots for U.S. President and senator and Congressman from Alaska.

Kenai Middle students participate in mock election

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct information on the number of electoral votes for each state.

Kenai Middle School’s eighth-grade students got a chance to cast their ballots at the same time millions of Americans did during the general election Tuesday.

Throughout the day, students in Bob Summer’s U.S. History class ducked out in pairs to visit a table in the hallway and cast their votes for president, Alaska senator and Alaska congressman in a mock election. Complete with sample ballots and a booth for privacy, students cast their votes and dropped them into an aluminum foil-clad ballot box, which was delivered to the office after each period. Their results were almost a bellwether for Tuesday night’s results — by noon, it was clear that now president-elect Donald Trump had the lead.

Eighth grader Madeline Edelen said she cast her ballot for Trump because she agreed with his policies about the military. The process of learning how to vote had been informative for her, she said.

“It’s interesting — it’s a good example of what we’ll be doing when … we vote,” she said.

To add a little more flavor, it wasn’t an open election. Each class participated as part of the electoral college system in one of the “battleground states” of Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio or Iowa. Edelen’s class, held during the fourth class period of the day, was assigned as Iowa. The states were chosen based on the class size — the first-period class, the largest of the day, was assigned as Florida, the battleground state with the most electoral college votes, Summer explained to the fourth-hour class.

On the white board on the wall of his classroom, a U.S. map drawn in black and red detailed how many electoral college votes each state got. Summer prefaced the mock election with an explanation of how the process would go and quizzed the students on how many electoral college votes Alaska gets — three. Students were taught the electoral votes per state are the number of senators plus the number of representatives that state has in the house of representatives. So Vermont and Alaska have the same number.

Some students had taken the opportunity to make jokes and write in candidates, but they should take it seriously and not invalidate their ballots by voting for multiple candidates in the same election or otherwise voting incorrectly, he said.

“Use this time to get the feel for what it would be like in a real election,” he said.

As the results rolled in, they would be announced over the intercom. Other students were tracking the election throughout the day, although only the eighth-graders got to vote. During the passing periods, students from other classes stopped at the table to peer curiously at the ballot box or into the voting booth, asking about who was winning and whether they could vote, too.

Eighth grader Kiara Moses cast her ballot Tuesday too and said she felt like she’d learned enough about the process to be confident about the voting process. She said the process had been interesting and that she felt well prepared for it.

“I feel comfortable with it,” she said.

By the end of the day, the win was clear: Trump won every period, though the vote was divided in some of the class periods. Just like the statewide results, the students voted to keep Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young in Washington, D.C. as well. Christie Ewing-Holmes, the school secretary, said when the staff announced the results at the end of the day, an audible cheer went up from the students.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at

More in News

Sens. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini /Juneau Empire)
State Senate bill would bump per-student funding amount by $1,000

If approved, the legislation would bump state education funding by more than $257 million

Recognizable components make up this metal face seen in a sculpture by Jacob Nabholz Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Kenai Art Center, in Kenai, Alaska, as part of Metalwork & Play. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Metalwork gets time to shine

Metal is on showcase this month at the Kenai Art Center

This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, that recommends allowing three oil drilling sites in the region of far northern Alaska. The move, while not final, has angered environmentalists who see it as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote green energy. (ConocoPhillips via AP)
Biden administration recommends major Alaska oil project

The move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists

Homer Electric Association General Manager Brad Janorschke testifies before the Senate Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Screenshot via Gavel Alaska)
Senate group briefed on future of Cook Inlet gas

Demand for Cook Inlet gas could outpace supply as soon as 2027

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Peninsula voices join state debate over school funding

Lawmakers heard pleas from education leaders around Alaska to increase the state’s base student allocation

Tamera Mapes and a client laugh and joke with one another during a free haircut at Project Homeless Connect on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Caring and connecting

Project Homeless Connect offers a variety of services

This September 2011 aerial photo provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, shows the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, effectively vetoed a proposed copper and gold mine in the remote region of southwest Alaska that is coveted by mining interests but that also supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. (Joseph Ebersole/EPA via AP)
EPA blocks Pebble Mine

Pebble called the EPA’s action “unlawful” and political and said litigation was likely

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 cases continue to climb

Statewide hospitalizations decreased slightly

A plow truck clears snow from the Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna council approves extra $100k for snow removal

At the end of December, the department was already more than $27,000 over their $100,000 budget for snow removal

Most Read