It’s Bush in a landslide – at Oakland Elementary School

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Laura Smith is proud of the job that the leader of her country has done over the past four years.

&uot;I think he makes good decisions,&uot; Laura said of President Bush. &uot;I think it’s a good idea for him to try to get oil from Alaska.&uot; That’s why, on Monday morning, Laura cast her ballot for the Republican party.

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If she and the rest of her classmates are any indication, Virginia will add its 13 electoral votes to the Bush campaign later on tonight; in Oakland Elementary’s first-ever elections, the President scored a sound 326-188 (61-39%) win over Democratic challenger John Kerry.

About two weeks ago, kindergarten teacher Kay Jefferson came up with the idea to turn the small school into a miniature electoral college.

&uot;I thought, ‘Why not let the students involve themselves in the voting process?’&uot; she said. &uot;I wanted them to understand what it means to get involved in voting when they’re adults.&uot;

In the midst of the photos of Bush and Kerry and a multitude of American flags lining the walls, Jefferson’s student Victoria Daniels, herself a hopeful future presidential candidate, checked the box below Kerry’s name.

&uot;I never did that before,&uot; said Victoria, 5, her shirt reading, &uot;Future President.&uot; &uot;My mom really wanted me to vote for (Kerry) and I wanted to, because he’ll give us more money for schools.&uot;

Laura’s classmate Corey Whitaker had another reason for going Democratic.

&uot;I picked John Kerry, because I don’t like that Bush is putting a lot of people in Iraq and a lot of them are getting killed,&uot; he said. &uot;My aunt might have to go to Iraq, and I don’t want her to. I was excited (about voting), because we would see which one our school liked better.&uot;

Principal Suzanne Rice wants Oakland parents to follow their children’s example when the precincts open at 7 a.m. today.

&uot;I’m hoping that this encourages parents to go out and vote,&uot; she said. &uot;I thought this was a fabulous idea, because the kids get to see the democratic process in action. It’s a participatory lesson; instead of just reading about (voting), they get to actually go out and do it.&uot;