Bush the victor at Sumner School

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2000

And, the winner is .

Tuesday, November 07, 2000

And, the winner is … George Bush.

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Students at Sumner Elementary School conducted a mock presidential election Monday.

The Republican candidate emerged victorious with 214 votes, compared to 169 for Democrat Al Gore.

According to CeCe Kroc, teacher and student council adviser, the mock election was a lesson in citizenship.

"Each class’ student council representative served as an election judge, while the students in that class voted," Kroc said. "After the polls closed, the student council members counted the ballots and we announced the results."

Sumner Elementary School also will serve as a polling place for Austin’s First Ward voters today.

"We gave each of the students who voted one of the red ‘I Voted’ stickers, which will remind their parents to vote when they go home wearing them," Kroc said.

With a student council poll-watcher assisting them and their teachers calling their names, the boys and girls stepped from seats in the Sumner Elementary School auditorium, marched to the stage, claimed a bright yellow ballot bearing a picture of each candidate next to their name and a box to mark. Next, they stepped into the actual voting booths citizens will use today and marked their ballots.

Finally, the ballots were folded and placed in a box for the student council members to count later.

"We tried to make the experience as realistic as possible," Kroc said.

No predictions

Mower County Auditor Woody Vereide refused to predict today’s voter turnout.

"All I know is that it’s going to be a late, late night tonight," Vereide said.

A total of 1,544 absentee ballots were distributed this year. Vereide and Virginia Janson, deputy auditor, spent late hours Monday night to accommodate the last of the absentee voters.

According to the last count of registered voters, there were 20,975, but eligible citizens also may register to vote today at the polls.

While the attention has been focused on a tight presidential race and in Minnesota, the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between incumbent Rod Grams, a Republican, and the DFL challenger, Mark Dayton, local legislative, county board and city elections may push the voter turnout higher.

Incumbent state Sen. Pat Piper (DFL-Austin) and Grace Schwab, an Albert Lea Republican, have observers guessing as to who will emerge victorious in Senate District 27.

Also, state Rep. Rob Leighton (DFL-Austin) faces a surprisingly strong Republican opponent in Jeff Anderson for House District 27B in western Mower County.

John O’Rourke’s attempt to bring a "city of Austin influence" to the Mower County Board of Commissioners’ District No. 1 offers a formidable challenge for 24-year incumbent Richard P. Cummings of rural Lansing.

But contests for Austin City Council’s First and Second Wards, plus the at-large position, are only the tip of the municipal election iceberg in the county that should attract attention everywhere.

There are mayoral races in Brownsdale, Grand Meadow, Lyle and Rose Creek. In addition, there are contested races for council seats at Brownsdale, Dexter, Grand Meadow, Lyle, Mapleview, Racine, as well as in neighboring Blooming Prairie and Hayfield.

In addition, four area school districts — Southland, Grand Meadow, Blooming Prairie and Hayfield, either have school board races or referendum issues to decide.

Rose Creek

Incumbent Mayor Pete Kuhlmann is being challenged by Jim Arens in the race for mayor of Rose Creek.

Two candidates, Wendell Sprung and Kent Ulwelling, are running for two vacancies on the Rose Creek City Council.