On Tuesday, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will battle for a final time in states all across the country. The first to 270 electoral votes wins.
One day earlier, and much closer to home, the candidates and their U.S. Senate and Representative counterparts will face another daunting task – earning the support of Braintree students from Flaherty Elementary to Braintree High School.
By early afternoon on Monday, Nov. 5, Braintree Public Schools will have a winner in its own election, consisting of an electoral college formed using each school as a state and designated educators at each school as secretaries of state.
"We will use the same number of electoral votes as in the U.S. presidential election," Gorman Lee, Director of Social Studies K-12, wrote in a primer distributed to each school (some have already done early voting).
"The number 538 comes from the total number of Congressional members of the House of Representatives (435 electoral votes) and Senate (100 electoral votes), and 3 electoral votes representing the District of Columbia. The candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes in order to be officially elected President of the United States."
Also on the ballots in Braintree are Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown and William Cimbrelo, and U.S. Congressional candidates Stephen Lynch and Joe Selvaggi.
Each school's electoral heft is based on its student population. For instance, Braintree High has 1,537 students and 153 electoral votes, while the smallest school, Flaherty, has 428 students and 43 votes. BPS held a similar event four years ago when Obama faced Sen. John McCain.
The governor of each "state" is the school principal, the citizens are students and the electors are selected teachers. Voting will take place Monday during extended homeroom, in the afternoon before dismissal, during lunch, social studies classes or through early voting. Students may vote by secret ballot, show of hands or other methods.
"Most importantly," Lee said in an email, "have fun. Enjoy."