Politics Blog

Mock Election: Students approve smaller classes, gun background checks

Well, concerned citizens have weighed in, the votes have been counted, and the election is over — the statewide “Student Mock Election,” that is.

For the last decade, the Secretary of State’s office has put on a mock election for grade school students in Washington. This year, 18,211 voters from kindergarten through 12th grade weighed in on the election. They were asked to vote on the three initiatives on the ballot, and for their local congressional races.

According to these young voices, Initiative 1351, which would limit class sizes and increase staff at schools, just barely passed. About 51 percent gave the measure a thumbs up, while about 49 percent said no, according to the state’s data, released last week.

The spread was a bit larger on two gun control measures up for a vote.

I-591 would “prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required,” according to the state’s online voters’ guide.

I-591 failed, with about 55 percent of students in the mock election voting it down, to about 45 percent in favor of passing the measure.

The other gun measure, I-594, would “apply currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions,” the voters’ guide states.

That measure passed with 69 percent of the vote, to about 31 percent who voted against the measure.

Of the 2,167 students who voted for the 1st Congressional District race, about 60 percent voted for incumbent Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat, while about 40 percent voted for her Republican challenger, Pedro Celis.

Of the 2,277 who voted for the 2nd Congressional District race, about 61 percent voted for incumbent Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat, while about 39 percent voted for his Republican challenger, B.J. Guillot.

Here in Whatcom County, the student vote was a bit different.

Between the eight towns that had students participate, Whatcom had 337 voters.

The Whatcom voters passed I-1351, with 51 percent of the vote, the same percentage that it passed by statewide.

They also passed both gun measures, which by most accounts conflict with one another. I-591 passed with about 59 percent of the vote and I-594 passed with 73 percent of the vote.

The young voters in our county favored Celis, with about 54 percent of the vote, and Larsen, with about 68 percent.

There’s only one day left until ballots from the state’s adult registered voters are due. Remember to turn in ballots to official drop boxes, or get them to the post office for a postmark before the end of the day, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Information on each ballot measure and race is available online through the state voters’ guide and the Whatcom County voters’ pamphlet.