Students in 15 South-Western schools have cast their ballot for president through a program set up by the Ohio affiliate of Kids Voting USA.

Students in 15 South-Western schools have cast their ballot for president through a program set up by the Ohio affiliate of Kids Voting USA.

Kids Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civics education organization that offers civic skill-building opportunities for students, including an authentic voting experience.

The schools' voting results were posted after adult polling places closed Tuesday, Nov. 6 on Double Click Democracy (, an online service of Kids Voting USA.

South-Western schools participating in the student voting project were Buckeye Woods, East Franklin, Alton Hall, Darbydale, Highland Park, Monterey, Stiles and West Franklin elementary schools; Franklin Woods, Hayes, Holt Crossing, Park Street and Galloway Ridge intermediate schools; Finland and Brookpark middle schools and South-Western Career Academy.

Holt Crossing's election was coordinated by fifth-grade teacher Lauren Sarnacki.

"We've participated in Kids Voting USA on a small scale the last few years. This year we decided we wanted to have every student involved," Sarnacki said.

Every Holt Crossing student were assigned their own ID number which they used to sign in and vote Monday in the school's media center. After they cast their ballot, the students received an "I Voted" sticker just as voters do at the real polls.

Fifth-grade students at Holt Crossing voted for president/vice president as well as Ohio's U.S. Senate race and 3rd Congressional District.

Sixth-graders also voted on State Issues 1 and 2 and on Issue 46, a tax levy supporting the Franklin County Office on Aging.

In the weeks leading up to the students voting, Holt Crossing teachers held discussions in class about the upcoming election and the importance of voting, Sarnacki said.

The emphasis of the discussions were not so much about specific issues and candidates' positions but, "on how the issues that are important to you drive how you decide to vote," she said.

"I hope this activity helps them realize that voting does matter," Sarnacki said. "In two presidential elections from now, these students will be voting and we want them to understand the importance of the election process.

"Many of the kids came in with very strong opinions about the election," she said. "You could tell their families have talked about it and that they are familiar with the ads that have run on TV and radio."

Some of Sarnacki's students talked about their choices for president after casting their ballots.

Jennifer Penazanora voted to re-elect Barack Obama.

"I voted for him because he said he would lower taxes and he did," she said. "I listened to the news on TV and listened to what each candidate said they would do to make our country a better place."

Maddy Snodgrass made Mitt Romney her choice for president.

"I think his plan sounds better and is easier to understand than Barack Obama's," she said.

To find out about the issues, Snodgrass said she watched some of the debates on television and 60 Minutes.

Obama earned Sarina Simpson's vote.

"Over the last year nothing's gone wrong and the number of jobs has been increasing," she said. "I saw no reason to make a change."

Change is exactly what's needed, Elise Johnson said, so she voted for Romney.

"President Obama's added billions to our debt and Romney has a good plan to get us out of debt," she said.

Brennan Colvard also voted for Romney.

"I believe the last few years have been really bad for the economy and jobs," he said. "I want a strong leader and I believe Mitt Romney will be a better leader."

Like many adults, some of the students expressed frustration with the nation's elections and candidates.

"Our vote doesn't really count because it's all up to the Electoral College," Snodgrass said.

It should be popular vote that decides who becomes president, not those appointed to the Electoral College, Simpson said.

Johnson said she has been disappointed to learn how often candidates tell lies to the voters and are dishonest about their positions on various issues.

"They really should tell the truth," she said. "If you're honest, you have a better chance to be elected."