Today is Taryn Sather's 18th birthday, and she plans to celebrate by casting her first vote for President of the United States before she heads off to class at Our Redeemer's Christian School in Minot.
"Definitely Romney," she said when asked whom she plans to vote for. She said it will be like a birthday present if Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the presidency, wins the election.
Early voting was widely used last week by other Ward County residents, but the Secretary of State's office said someone turning 18 on Election Day wouldn't be able to cast his or her vote early. Only someone who is actually 18 at the time he or she casts their vote is an eligible voter, according to state law.
Our Redeemer’s Christian School seniors Taryn Sather, left, and Nash Smith both plan to vote today in the national election as well as their schoolwide election. Sather turns 18 today, Election Day.
Sather said it will be exciting to cast her first vote and getting to vote will make her feel like a real adult.
Sather and fellow senior Nash Smith are helping to organize a schoolwide election at Our Redeemer's.
They said their U.S. history class formed committees. One committee made the ballots and one will run the election. Posters were put up around school advertising the election. Middle and high school students and teachers who vote will be required to show a valid ID. The school's student ID will be accepted. Students and teachers can vote before school, over the noon hour or after school today and results will be made known on Wednesday. An informational poster in the history classroom gives a biography of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
"I hope lots of people go out and vote," said Sather. Even though it's a school election, it still gives students an idea of what voting is like and what they will be doing as adults, said Sather.
Sather said she thinks many people in the private Christian school will lean towards electing Romney instead of President Barack Obama.
Smith, who is also 18 and eligible to vote in the presidential election, said he will probably cast his vote for Romney but he is more nonpartisan than Republican.
Our Redeemer's Christian School is just one of the area schools that are teaching students about the election by holding a mock election.
Erik Ramstad Middle School held its schoolwide election on Friday but teachers didn't plan to release the results until after the real election.
Teacher Julie Benson said students voted for president and for governor, choosing between Republican incumbent Jack Dalrymple and Democratic candidate Ryan Taylor. Students have talked in their history classes about the candidates and have learned about the different political parties and how an election is conducted.
Benson said students will be avidly following the election today to find out if their choice for president is the same as the rest of the country's.