In a mock presidential election last night, a group of about 20 students elected a Democrat, but the winner wasn’t Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. Instead, Candidate B won in a landslide.
The mock election, sponsored by the University’s chapter of the NAACP, forced voters to choose a candidate based their politics rather than their name recognition by not including real candidates from the 2008 presidential race, organizers said.
The candidates were simply called Candidate A and Candidate B. When the event moderator introduced hot-button issues like same-sex marriage or immigration, each candidate was given an opportunity to explain her stance on the issue based on the race’s real contenders and their views.
After the debate, students picked their preferred candidate, still unaware of the candidate’s name or political party.
When audience members finally found out which candidate was which, some were surprised to learn, for instance, that the Democrat was the one calling for a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border to block illegal immigrants. Likewise, the Republican had gone against the conventional policy of her party, describing herself as pro-choice in the abortion debate.
Ultimately, the candidate posing as a Democrat won by a large majority, which came as a surprise to the planners of the event.
LSA freshman Nina Nwachukwu, who posed as the Democratic candidate and also helped organize the event, said she didn’t expect to win by such a large margin.
“Actually I thought it would be a closer race because we really didn’t differ on a lot of issues,” she said.
LSA freshman Beatrice Hinton, a co-chair of the event, said she hoped the event’s abstract format would encourage students not to pick a candidate because of his or her name recognition.
“We hope that the event will open people’s minds to vote for the issues that they think are important,” she said.
LSA sophomore Jasmine Roberts said the event helped take the emphasis off the leading candidates who receive the most media attention.
“The candidates were representing a point of view, which I think is better because the media sort of chooses our candidates for us,” she said.
After the mock election, Hinton and Nwachukwu discussed the importance of the black female vote in the upcoming election, saying it will play a large role in determining the winner between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination.
Although the focus of the event was on understanding issues important to the election, event organizers also tried to explain to students the voter check-in process.
In order to receive a ballot, attendees had to present a valid form of identification -like their MCard – in a simulation of actual voting procedures.
During elections, voters must show ID or sign an affidavit confirming their identity.