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Yorktown Elementary School Predicts Every Presidential Election Since 1968

Students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School wait in line to vote for president.
Students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School wait in line to vote for president. Photo Credit: James VanDevelde

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- If the vote from the students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School is any indication, Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

The K to 5th grade school in the Lakeland Central School District has voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1968. This year, students picked Clinton over Trump 277 votes to 230 votes. 

"The purpose is to teach the students about democracy and the importance of voting," principal Patty McIlvenny said. "It's their right as citizens."

Like in real elections, the students go into a voting booth, pull the curtain and vote for their candidate. While the winner is determined by popular vote, each classroom is considered a state, and a map is colored in red or blue depending on the winner.

The school focuses on where the candidates stand on the issues, rather than the candidates themselves. 

"They come to a conclusion on where they stand and we tell them this is the person you would've voted for," McIlvenny said. 

McIlvenny said she thinks Benjamin Franklin is a reliable bellwether because the school is a microcosm of the nation.

"We have white collar and blue families," McIlvenny said. "We have students in English as a second language classes and we have students with learning disabilities.  We're a melting pot, we have all different religions and nationalities."

McIlvenny said she doesn't know why students supported Clinton over Trump, but she hopes the exercise caused them to be more informed about the electoral process.

"I hope that when they turn 18, they go out and vote," McIlvenny said. "Your voice does matter."

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