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Youth Are Our Future

November 17, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

We've had a week to digest the outcome of the Presidential elections, and whether your candidate won or lost, the people spoke through their votes. Unfortunately, there are some who feel that they are entitled to protest, destroy property, assault other people, bully and harass and in general, act like spoiled sore losers.

In the meantime, other nations are sitting back, chuckling at the trials and tribulations of the United States, post-election. For priding ourselves on being a world leader, we certainly aren't setting the best example, are we?


In the weeks preceding the November 8th elections, I was able to visit Mr. Dan Dooley's U.S. Government class at Emmetsburg High School, sitting in on a session with Palo Alto County Auditor Carmen Moser, as she explained voter registration and the procedure for voting on election day to a pair of classes, made up of seniors, who would be voting in their first Presidential election.

I found it interesting that these students were very interested in the election process - three weeks before the election, I was just waiting for it to all be over - the majority of the seniors who were 18 years of age had already registered to vote when they had received their drivers' licenses, an option offered by the State of Iowa to any resident when they obtain a new license or renew their drivers' license.

While sitting in on the class, a foreign exchange student was asked about the basic differences between her country's election process and those of the United States. The biggest difference was the number of candidates on a ballot, a reference to the local, state and government races found on a typical U.S. ballot.

On election day, Mr. Dooley brought the seniors who were eligible to vote from both his Government classes to the Palo Alto County Election center in Emmetsburg to allow them to cast their first ballots, a novel way of showing just how the election process really works. Even the 17-year old students came along - to watch, not vote!

"It was a great learning experience for all of the classes," Dooley said. "These kids were very interested in the whole process this year."

Dooley's observation was right on the mark, as high school students in general state-wide, to the tune of 57,000 youth, representing 250 high schools, including Emmetsburg, voted in a statewide Straw poll for President a week before the actual election.

According to Secretary of State Paul Pate, the Straw Poll was a great opportunity for Iowa youth to experience the Presidential election.

"I think it was a great opportunity for them to see first-hand how the process works,"?Pate noted. "It also gives them a running start for the next election cycle and also receive a little tutoring at the same time, so they'll have a good base of knowledge for Iowa's election process."

So for the record, how did Iowa's youth vote in the election?

In Emmetsburg, Donald Trump was the choice of 51 percent of the voters while Hillary Clinton received 46 percent of the vote. Statewide, Trump earned 46 percent of the vote to Clinton's 36 percent, with Gary Johnson receiving seven percent.

But the one big takeaway from all this?

Our local kids aren't rioting and blocking roads in protest of the election outcome. They understand the process, and they appreciate their country.

To me, that adds up to a hopeful future.



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