Election Day Observations
Voting is both a right and a duty for all US citizens but not everybody exercises that right or fulfills that duty. On Election Day 2012, however, all Conservatory Lab students fulfilled their civic obligation as official election observers. Every class walked down to the polls at the corner of Warren and Cambridge Streets along with their teachers and filed in to observe the Ward 21, Precinct 8 poll workers and voters. Students from K1 to 6th grade took their responsibility to ensure a free and fair election seriously and asked questions so they could better understand the process of voting.
When one 2nd grader asked “How can you vote if you can’t read?” another pointed out the special machine that reads the ballot aloud. “What if you can’t speak English? Can you still vote?” Students quickly found that there were Chinese and Russian interpreters on site and that the ballot was written in both English and Spanish. The poll workers were all gracious and welcoming towards this huge contingent of observers and gave every student a “I voted” sticker as they left. Our students can proudly claim to have played a role in this historic event.
In addition to their observations, some classes conducted fieldwork outside the polls. 1st graders asked exiting voters what qualities they thought were most important for a leader: honesty, perseverance, intelligence etc. and tabulated and graphed the responses as part of their Expedition, This Land Is Our Land. 5th graders interviewed voters about why they voted and how they felt about a variety of national issues.