Francis Howell students take to the polls

Anyone with a Twitter or Facebook knew the results of the presidential election, which was based on the votes of 538 electoral college members, just moments after the race was called. There were second-by-second updates on the “sways” and “leans” of swing states, but when all was said and done, the United States was painted blue and red, with only Florida and its 29 inconsequential electoral votes left unclaimed.

When looking at the final map, Missouri can be found bordered on the North and East by blue states, and on the South and West by a sea of red. The Show-Me State ended up red, as has been the trend for the last three elections. Mitt Romney claimed approximately 52% of Missouri’s popular vote, with Barack Obama taking about 43%, and 5% going to a third party candidate.

A few weeks ago in all of the Francis Howell district middle and high schools, social studies classes took a survey hosted by Kids Voting USA and designed to depict the opinions of students on the upcoming presidential election. The votes have been tallied and the results are in.

The presidential race was close in the Francis Howell district, but Romney scraped by as the victor with 49.3% of the votes compared to Obama’s 42.6%. A little interesting, however, is the amount of votes given to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, who received 8.1% of the votes. Third parties generally do poorly in Missouri, with Johnson only receiving 1.6% of Missouri’s votes. It appears that young people may be more open to a third party candidate, which begs the question: is this notable evidence of a shift in the views of our country?

Government teacher Mr. Nick Beckmann says no. “Young people get entrenched with third party candidates,” said Beckmann. “As they get older, they’ll start to identify more with Democratic or Republican views.”

Another statistic worth noting is how overwhelmingly students voted to pass Proposition B. For a few weeks, it was impossible to visit a gas station without being assaulted by a barrage of orange signs, shouting that “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” and that Missouri citizens won’t stand for a 760% tax increase. Well, of course not. That would be ridiculous.

What passersby lack, however, is all of the information about the proposition. Prop B, which would have raised Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax from 17 cents to 90 cents and used the additional tax money to fund both elementary and higher education, was not approved by Missouri voters. However, Francis Howell district students were able to look past the brightly colored signs with inaccurate statistics (if you do the math, the tax hike is only 429%, not 760%). They read the text of the proposition for themselves and made a decision based on the facts. A whopping 71% of students in the Francis Howell district voted to pass the proposition.

Despite contradicting the views of the general public in several cases, Francis Howell district students stuck to their guns and made informed decisions about candidate elections and propositions that would directly affect them. With any luck, the next generation will continue on in this way and be full of knowledgeable voters.