Students line up at a registration table to vote in a mock election held on Tuesday at the St. Angela Center of Kuemper Catholic Grade School. Although their votes don&rsquo;t count in the general election for president, teachers used Election Day as a learning tool to teach students the process and the importance of voting. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann</em></span>
Students line up at a registration table to vote in a mock election held on Tuesday at the St. Angela Center of Kuemper Catholic Grade School. Although their votes don’t count in the general election for president, teachers used Election Day as a learning tool to teach students the process and the importance of voting. Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mitt Romney won a tight election among the elementary students at Kuemper Catholic and Carroll schools, who cast their votes for the presidential election Tuesday morning.

Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, earned a total of 296 votes among students at both the public and parochial schools, and U.S. President Barack Obama took 263.

But the schools were split: Kuemper students overwhelmingly voted for Romney — 144-41 — whereas Fairview Elementary leaned Obama — 222-152.

At Fairview, where teachers put an emphasis on how to vote, students showed their makeshift voter-registration cards to someone in the school’s office and walked into a cardboard voting booth with red, white and blue streamers and cast a ballot.

At Kuemper, where students learned in the past couple weeks about election and presidential history, some fifth-grade students revealed how they made their choice:

— Theresa Borkowski said she voted for whom she thought would be better, and that Obama would put the country into a lot of debt.

— Hallie Simons said she watched the candidate debates to help her decide.

— Bethany Schleisman had the help of several people while trying to make her decision — her parents, a bus driver and TV. She said Obama wants to take money from the working class and give it to people who don’t have jobs.

— Mariah Naberhaus said she decided who she wanted to vote for by watching television news and the debates. She said she doesn’t like that Obama has been borrowing so much money.

— Claire Smith said she voted for Romney because she doesn’t like abortion.

Other Kuemper students said they learned about seven of the nation’s greatest presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and James Madison.

They said they learned differences between Democrats and Republicans, who’s red and who’s blue and what the donkey and the elephant symbolize.

They learned that Obama was born in Hawaii, and that he’s 51 years old. They learned Romney was born in Michigan and was governor of Massachusetts.

Students at Fairview were learning how to vote, rather than focusing on the issues.

First-grade student Jack Friel said he voted for his candidate because he was nice on television.

But he declined to comment on whom he voted for.

The students’ votes mirrored those of the voting-age Carroll County residents on Tuesday. Both favored Romney with 53 percent of the vote.