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Secretary of State reports student mock election results, including three west central Minnesota schools

Students from BOLD, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and Dawson-Boyd public schools participated in Students Voting 2022, a state-run mock election program.

A roll of "I Voted" stickers sits on a table at the Willmar Education & Arts Center during the primaries in Willmar on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
A roll of "I Voted" stickers sits on a table at the Willmar Education & Arts Center during the primaries in Willmar on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Editor's note: A typographical error has been corrected since initial publication. All of the data are from 2022.

Three area school districts took part in the Minnesota secretary of state’s 2022 Students Voting Mock Election this year.

Students at BOLD High School, Dawson-Boyd Stevens Elementary and Kerkhoven-Murdock Sunburg Junior/Senior High School were part of more than 158,000 students from 315 Minnesota schools who participated in the program. Ballots in the program were cast for the governor’s race.

The program promotes a realistic voting experience, according to a news release from Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office. Students follow the same steps as adult voters by receiving a ballot and marking their ballots behind privacy screens on Election Day. They cast their ballots and receive “I Voted” stickers.

Erica Dischino / TribuneMinnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon speaks to Ken Heitzman’s history class Friday morning at Willmar Senior High School. Students in the class were able to ask Secretary Simon about his experience in politics and how to become more involved as younger citizens.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon speaks to Ken Heitzman’s history class at Willmar Senior High School in this March 2018 file photo. Students in the class were able to ask Simon about his experience in politics and how to become more involved as younger citizens.
Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo

The program is sponsored by the Secretary of State’s Office and YMCA’s Center for Youth Voice. Other schools may have had mock elections that were not part of the state program.

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Official statewide results in the 2022 election were 53.3% for Gov. Tim Walz; 44.6% for Republican Scott Jensen; 1.2% for James McCaskel, Legal Marijuana Now Party; 0.9% for Steve Patterson, Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party of Minnesota; 0.7% for Hugh McTavish, Independence-Alliance Party; 0.3% for Gabrielle Prosser, Socialist Workers Party.

Statewide student results in the mock election, among the schools reporting, also favored Walz’s re-election, with 17,179 votes for Walz, 45.2%, while Jensen received 11,100 votes, 29.2%.

Students showed support for other candidates, too: McCaskel, 4,202, 11%; Patterson, 2,072, 5.5%; Prosser, 1,939, 5.1%; and McTavish, 1,518, 4%.

Mock election results were reported from 184 Minnesota schools with more than 38,000 student votes cast, according to the mock voting results web page. Not all participating schools reported their results.

The release from the Secretary of State’s Office includes voting percentages for each school in the mock election, as well as comparison figures showing city and county voting percentages by political party in the actual 2022 election.

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.

At BOLD, 172 students cast ballots. They voted 41.3% for Walz and 58.7% for Jensen. No other candidates received votes.

The city vote in Olivia was 38.7% for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and 57.7% for the Republican Party and 1.6% for the Legal Marijuana Now Party.

KMS had 192 students vote. They cast their votes 100% for Jensen.

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Renville County results were 39.4% DFL, 56.8% Republican and 2.8% Legal Marijuana Now.

The Kerkhoven city vote was 33.3% DFL, 64.6% Republican and 1% Legal Marijuana Now.

The Swift County vote was 43.3% DFL, 53.9% Republican and 2% Legal Marijuana Now.

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At Dawson-Boyd Stevens Elementary, 79 students voted, with Walz receiving 29.2% and Jensen receiving 45.6%. Other candidates receiving votes were Patterson, 8.9%; Prosser, 3.8% and McTavish, 2.5%.

The Dawson city vote was 48.2% DFL, 48.7% Republican and 0.2% Legal Marijuana Now.

The Lac qui Parle County vote was 43.6% DFL, 53% Republican and 2.7% Legal Marijuana Now.

“It is inspiring to see so many students from across the state realize the power of their vote and the role they play in our shared democracy,” Simon said in the news release.

The program gives students hands-on experience with the process, “building their confidence and knowledge before they head to the polls for the first time after they turn 18,” he said.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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