By Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Young voices heard as Martin L. Mattei middle schoolers take part in Every Kid Votes! program

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Darrian Lang 13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes! mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School Tuesday. The program takes place nationwide and teaches kids about the voting process while offering final results when the program is over.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Emily Rinaldi and Brynne McGoff, both 13, review the Every Kid Votes! mock election information. Students learned how to select their preferred candidates before casting a final ballot to secure their votes.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Students at Martin L. Mattei Middle School in Pittston review their choices in the mock election. Social studies teacher Frank Twardowski said he thinks the process will teach kids the importance of voting and not to take their rights for granted.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Jacob Severnak ,13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School. Severnak said he had some knowledge of candidates prior to voting, but he didn’t cast a vote in each race.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

PITTSTON — Layla Kolodzieski thought the voting process was different than she expected, not realizing technology is used in the process.

She hopes the next president of the United States will work on immigrant laws “to make sure if you need help, you can come here to have a better life.”

Trinity Thubborn found the voting process to be easier than she imagined and hopes the newly elected president brings more jobs to the American people.

The two 13-year-olds were among young voices heard Tuesday as Martin L. Mattei middle schoolers took part in a mock election. Kids were surprised by the tech-savvy format of voting, and some were happy to offer their hopes for the future of the country.

The Every Kid Votes! mock election takes place nationwide in more than 10,000 elementary schools, and the program is designed to familiarize students with the voting process and give them a sense of civic responsibility. The Mattei Middle School began their first of six days in which the program plays out.

Technology education teacher Bob Bartoli proctored two classes which participated in the mock election.

The teacher’s short tutorial gave students an idea of the bigger picture in which they were involved. Barltoli instructed his pupils on how to vote — the computer based process is similar to the touchscreen process voters encounter in Pennsylvania — and notified them they’d be voting for president of the United States, Pennsylvania senate and several other state offices.

“I think it’s good to go through the process of voting,” Bartoli said of the importance of the program to students. “Unless they went with a parent to the actual polls, they’d never see this process until they were 18.”

Bartoli informed students they were to select a candidate in each race they chose to vote and make a final submission by casting their ballot — logging out of the computer program in the mock election sense.

Emily Rinaldi, 13, of Duryea, said she learned how to properly select the candidates she wanted to vote for.

Jacob Severnak, 13, of Duryea, said he had some prior knowledge of candidates before voting but did not vote in each individual race.

Bartoli made it clear to his classes that. while it is important to participate in voting, it is acceptable to not vote in certain races for reasons of preference or lack of information on candidates.

Alexis Borthwick, 13, of Dupont also found voting to be easier than she expected.

“I think it will help for when I’m old enough to vote,” she said.

Social studies teacher Frank Twardowski said preparation for the mock election involves kids logging onto websites to watch information videos on certain candidates, bringing them up to speed on policy.

“I always tell them to try to form their own opinions,” Twardowski said. “I think they’re learning how important it is to vote instead of just taking it for granted.”

Bartoli said he thinks getting the voting results will be fun for the kids.

“I think they will enjoy seeing how they voted compared to the rest of the country.”

Darrian Lang 13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes! mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School Tuesday. The program takes place nationwide and teaches kids about the voting process while offering final results when the program is over.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL110216everykidvotes1-1.jpgDarrian Lang 13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes! mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School Tuesday. The program takes place nationwide and teaches kids about the voting process while offering final results when the program is over. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

Emily Rinaldi and Brynne McGoff, both 13, review the Every Kid Votes! mock election information. Students learned how to select their preferred candidates before casting a final ballot to secure their votes.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL110216everykidvotes2-1.jpgEmily Rinaldi and Brynne McGoff, both 13, review the Every Kid Votes! mock election information. Students learned how to select their preferred candidates before casting a final ballot to secure their votes. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

Students at Martin L. Mattei Middle School in Pittston review their choices in the mock election. Social studies teacher Frank Twardowski said he thinks the process will teach kids the importance of voting and not to take their rights for granted.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL110216everykidvotes3-1.jpgStudents at Martin L. Mattei Middle School in Pittston review their choices in the mock election. Social studies teacher Frank Twardowski said he thinks the process will teach kids the importance of voting and not to take their rights for granted. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

Jacob Severnak ,13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School. Severnak said he had some knowledge of candidates prior to voting, but he didn’t cast a vote in each race.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL110216everykidvotes4-1.jpgJacob Severnak ,13, casts his vote in the Every Kid Votes mock election at Martin L. Mattei Middle School. Severnak said he had some knowledge of candidates prior to voting, but he didn’t cast a vote in each race. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Martin L. Mattei students take part in mock election

By Matt Mattei

[email protected]

Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts