Naugatuck Middle Schoolers Vote for the First Time

Who did they vote for and why? Sometimes, it came down to policy over popularity.


City Hill Middle School eighth-grader Abby Walsh lives in a Republican household and thought she would vote for Mitt Romney if given the chance.

But when afforded the opportunity to cast a ballot at school Monday, Walsh opted for Democrat Barack Obama. It wasn’t because she thought Obama was cooler or dressed better. No, her decision came down to policy.

“I felt like Romney’s platform revolved so heavily around the five-point plan that if that failed, there was nothing,” she said.

Walsh was one of more than 700 students who participated in a mock vote for president and senate at the school for seventh-and-eighth-graders on Monday. The event was organized by eighth-grade Social Studies teacher Linda Salvatore, who asked students to watch presidential debates and then discussed the candidates, as well as the election process, in class.

“I spent as much time as I could allowing them to see both sides rather than what side they saw for four years,” she said. “For a lot of them, this was the first time they were seeing Romney.

“The kids reacted to the way the candidates were treating each other,” she said about the debates. “That was interesting. They can’t relate to the issues as much, but they can relate to the way people talk to each other. So that was a big discussion we had in class.”

Eighth-grader Ariel Johnson said the way candidates conducted themselves matters to her because she doesn’t want a disrespectful person running the country. She also said she will pay attention to politics in the future because she had so much fun with this assignment.

“It’s actually pretty fascinating,” she said. “Instead of just watching Sponge Bob or something, we get to see people who could be running our country.”

So who won? Interestingly, it was a bipartisan outcome. 

Obama was elected president with 71 percent of the vote. In the Senate race, Republican Linda McMahon defeated Democrat Chris Murphy with 62 percent of the vote. 

And of course, this being middle school, there was one write-in vote for none other than...Justin Bieber.


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