Middle School Students Witness Democracy in Action

Jackie Pisani
Middle Schoolers were privileged to participate in the Connecticut post-election audit drawing with Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill in the Roberts Theater. A random audit of 5% of the precincts, there are 743 in the state, is conducted approximately two to three weeks post-Election Day to verify the vote. Each polling place name is placed in a bin, and 38 of the locations are drawn randomly so that the auditors can count the paper ballot versus the machine count.

“This is an extremely important feature of democracy in America. We’re checking up on our election to ensure that everything is fair and everyone is getting a vote,” Merrill said. She explained that voters vote on a paper ballot that is scanned into a machine. The machine stores the paper ballot, and the computer chip in the machine records which candidate receives the vote. To ensure that the machine is accurate, after the election a hand count of the ballots is matched against the machine.

Middle school history teacher Andy Krugman ’86 selected the 38 students for the drawing based on if they served in student government, took a risk and ran for a position or made an announcement at an assembly.  The students pulled a paper with a polling location name and town which was then announced to the audience that also included several civic-minded citizens. When each town name was announced, the students clapped and hollered like contestants on The Price is Right. After the first wave of students was chosen, the energized crowd answered trivia questions about the state flower, state bird and state secretary for the opportunity to draw a polling location and ten alternate locations.

Students were thoroughly engaged in the process. This civic education and engagement experience can tap students’ early interest in becoming active citizens, encourage them to help plan community events and offer their opinions on local issues, particularly those that directly concern them, such as education and youth violence. The ceremony was held at Kingswood Oxford in large part due to efforts of Ted Bromley ’91 P ’25 who is an attorney for the secretary of state’s office and Shirley Surgeon, an elections officer and a grandmother of an Upper Prep student.
 
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
Copyright 2018. Kingswood Oxford.