Election Day at Benchmark

It's election season nationally and at Benchmark! Ms. Scott took the lead on hosting a mock election for President, in line with the civics work so many students have been exploring in their social studies classes.

In recognition of the unique circumstances voters face in these COVID times both within and outside of Benchmark, Ms. Scott made a number of modifications to ensure voting access for our entire community.

She distributed paper ballots to all classes and offices, and also offered electronic voting for remote learners, staff, and anyone else who preferred that voting method.

Students voting at desks

Students completed their ballots in "privacy booths" at their desks.

Those who voted by paper ballot had three ways to submit their ballots: they could choose to drop their ballot in the box centrally located in the library, or classes could make their own ballot boxes, or they could wait for their ballot to be picked up by Mrs. Mattaliano, who served as our in-house mail carrier. (Mrs. Mattaliano's husband is a proud postal worker, and he suggested this option to represent the millions of citizens who vote by mail in the US!)

Student drops ballot into box

Students from Mr. Pfautz's class drop their ballots in the library ballot box.

Ms. Scott numbered each ballot to ensure integrity of the election and so she could gather data on return percentages from each "ward." What will voter turnout be?  Will the middle school skew a certain way?  Will Benchmark reflect the larger national community?

Voting was permitted to continue until the end of the school day on November 3. Along with many election workers across the country that night, Ms. Scott tallied the results and was able to declare a winner.

Let's look at the results!

Ms. Scott says, "With all precincts reporting, I present the final numbers from our election. Benchmark had 85% voter turnout."  

Here are the final tallies:

Trump 60

Biden 143

(5 ballots had to be discarded due to an inability to interpret the marks)

Ms. Scott's class went deeper into the electoral college process. She explains, "Since my students asked for it after studying the electoral college, we decided to also report the results of Benchmark’s  'electoral college.'  We took the population of each class and gave them proportional representation. For example, classes with 9 students/teachers received 2 delegates, classes with 10 students/teachers received 3 and we added one more to each level, up to the 8th grade’s PAC cohort whose population of 14 received 7 delegates. We also gave the remote block of 38 learners/teachers a total of 19 delegates and the non-teaching staff a total of 11. Just as in 48 of the states in the national election, we applied a winner-takes-all assignment even though some voters sat out our election. One class, which split the vote also split the delegates."

We offer many thanks to Ms. Scott and all of the teachers who made this election come alive for their students.

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About Benchmark School

Benchmark School, located at 2107 N. Providence Road, Media, Pa., is an independent, not-for-profit day school serving students in grades 1-8. Founded in 1970, the school is committed to helping bright students who have yet to reach their academic potential become confident and strategic thinkers, learners, and problem solvers who meet with success in school and life. For more information about Benchmark School, please call 610-565-3741 or visit BenchmarkSchool.org.