the context of studying Unit 3, The State, my 3rd Year class decided
to conduct a mock election around the same time as the general election.
This provided great opportunities for participation by the full class
in the project but also gave rise to some difficulties. A major one
was the delay of the Government in calling the election until May
which left us anxiously waiting. When May 17th was announced as the
date the class decided on May 15th for the school mock election. Voting
to be open to all students in years 1 – 3 (400 Voters Approx)
The following areas were divided between groups in the class:
* Devising copying ballot paper
* Permission and Venue
* Register of Electors
* Ballot Boxes/stamps to validate votes etc
* Posters to announce election and encourage voting
* Monitoring campaigns in the real election.
The devising of the ballot paper proved difficult because ours is
a Dublin City school with students coming from a number of different
Dáil constituencies. After much discussion it was decided that the
ballot paper would be based on the Party Leaders. The fact that the
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was not a candidate in any constituency
There were a number of jobs in the polling stations which meant that
the student managers of the station could allow class members to rotate
and try every job:
* Security and queue supervision
* Checking the register
* Stamping and distributing ballot papers
* Calling classes to vote.
There were some attempts at double voting during the morning and it
is interesting to note that the safety and security of the ballot
was a big issue in discussion after the election and in the Action
A returning officer and Deputy returning officer were elected by the
class and all class members took part in the count. The quota was
193 votes and there was a small number of spoiled votes. After the
first count Fianna Fail had a slender lead over Sinn Féin followed
by the Green Party, Labour, Fine Gael, P.D.s and Socialist Party.
On the fifth count Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil were elected with
44.27% followed by Trevor Sargent and the Green Party with 36.46%.
The results were read by the Returning Officer at the school assembly
and posted on Noticeboards. It certainly heightened interest in the
real general election in the school.