9-Year-Olds Ace Florida Ballot

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9-Year-Olds Ace Florida Ballot CNSNews.com Saturday, Nov. 11, 2000

It was a lesson in disbelief for Louisiana fourth- and first-graders who spent about a minute Thursday correctly selecting Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush from the list of candidates on copies of the controversial Florida presidential ballot."I went to the Internet and printed a copy of the ballot, and passed it out to my students," said Lisa Burns, a fourth-grade teacher at Stockwell Elementary School in Bossier City."I gave them a blue marker to vote for Gore and a red marker to vote for Bush. They did, and I realized 100 percent of my class had been able to vote for the correct person."A first-grade teacher repeated the test in her classroom, asking her students to darken the bubble that corresponded to Gore's name. It took her 6- and 7-year-olds about "one minute" to complete the ballot, Stacey Robinson said, with 19 of 24 selecting the Democrat candidate's bubble.Robinson said she pointed out Gore's name to her students via an overhead projector displaying a copy of the ballot because the majority just learned to read. "I said, boys and girls, each bubble belongs to a name," she said. "There's some grown-ups in South Florida who can't find Al Gore's bubble. Here's his name. Can you find his bubble?"'I Wanted to Vote for George Bush!'Nineteen correctly darkened Gore's bubbles, three selected Buchanan's, one "voted" for Natural Law nominee John Hagelin further down the page - and one intentionally voted for Bush.Even in a first-grade classroom, vote tabulations were the subject of protest and controversy. "I thought we were voting," Brady McCoy, 6, of Haughton grumbled after he was told to find and punch the "Gore" bubble, the Shreveport Times reported."I wanted to vote for George Bush!" And he did.9-Year-Olds Ace the TestThe 9- and 10-year-old students, all 22 of whom completed the ballot "immediately" and correctly, were shocked and amazed to discover adults in Florida had claimed confusion with the placement of the bubbles, Burns said."They were surprised about that," she said. If You Don't Follow Directions, No Second Chance"They were also saying that the adults should have been responsible, asking for help with the directions if they didn't know. One of the things we constantly talk about in this class is if you don't follow directions, and don't ask for help, you don't get a second chance."So they were saying, why should the adults get a second chance," Burns continued.Burns and Robinson initiated the tests purely for educational purposes and as a prelude to civics and current events discussions, they said, and not to make a political statement."If nothing else," Principal Tim Thompson said of the presidential ballot situation in Florida, "this has been a great civics lesson for the whole United States. I would hope most of the schools are using [this controversy] -----------

-- Newsman (-@izvestia.or.pravda?), November 11, 2000


."I went to the Internet and printed a copy of the ballot, and passed it out to my students," said Lisa Burns, a fourth-grade teacher

What she DIDN'T have was the actual punch card that DIDN'T align correctly.

-- (DIDN'T @line.up), November 11, 2000.

BFD!! We're not talking about 9 year old voters! Many of the disenfranchised voters were senior citizens. Many seniors have poor vision, some are nervous, on medication, won't complain for fear of being called "old fools," and are nervous or easily flustered, not familiar with new voting methods, maybe didn't have the best education in the world, or have difficulty reading or they may be simply tired, especially if they've had to stand in line a long time.

My mother who had always voted by placing an X in the box, was thrown by having to use the punch, which she first thought was a pen that wouldn't write.

Besides, several have said the ballot that was shown in the paper was not the ballot that was in the voting booth. Also, as poster, Didn't Line Up said, when the ballot was on the pegs, the line up was skewed.

Most nine year olds can work a computer much better than I, see farther, and hit a baseball better. So what does that prove--that I should have no trouble with this either. Lot's of seniors won't ask for help, because they are afraid they will be looked down on, WHICH THEY OFTEN ARE.

Recently I was in a grocery store where an elderly lady was sitting on a box right in the middle of an aisle. A grocery store person said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry, you can't sit there." She looked scared and pale. Two or three people just grinned, or ignored her and walked on by. I asked if she needed help, and she did. The OATS bus hadn't arrived yet, and she was so tired she felt she couldn't stand any longer so she sat on the box. Once the store fellow heard that, he took her to the office where she was given a chair. But my question is, why don't people consider the age group they are dealing with instead of making judgments of one size fits all.

I have no trouble figuring out ballots, but in 20 or 25 years, I may not be as sharp at these things.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), November 11, 2000.

While it was cute and laughable that a bunch of kids had no problem with this ballot...I will still buy that some people did. I will also buy that there is NOTHING to be done about it now, because there is no possible way to prove intent...and there never will be. I would say this whether it was Gore or Bush at risk here...what can you REALLy do about it? You cannot revote that county. It just wouldn't be right. You can't tell me people would vote the same in the first as they did in the second...nadar and buchanan voters already made their points, they're not going to waste this SECOND vote...give me a break.

-- kritter (kritter@adelphia.net), November 11, 2000.

As far as "intent" goes, that's apparently exactly what they're trying to do in some cases during the Palm Beach hand-recount. According to CNN, the workers are looking to see if some holes were only partially-punched, if some showed signs of being backed-off, and so on and so on. (I assume if there's still any doubt, they also have free access to the Psychic Hotline.) If this is true, 'tis a dangerous, dangerous path they have taken...

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), November 11, 2000.

Dear Gilda,

I concur with your post. I feel sad that senior citizens have so many troubles.

Last year zoobie posted "SPECIES DIE-BACK IS NATURAL".

His statement upset others, yet who can deny its logical veracity?

In this modern world of electricity and medications, many lives are being sustained that would normally have ended years earlier.

We must do what we can to help the elderly.

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), November 11, 2000.

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