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WIU Students Nominate Obama/Clinton, Romney/Paul Tickets in Mock Presidential Election

November 3, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – The Democrat and Republican tickets are set in the nation's largest Mock Presidential Election (MPE) being held at Western Illinois University. Both presidential nominees won their respective party's nomination with runaway voting.

Taking the Democrat ticket is incumbent President Barack Obama, with a surprise nomination for vice president in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Republican ticket is Mitt Romney for president, with Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.

Obama received 2,579 votes of 2,184 needed; Romney received 1,475 votes of 1,259 needed for the nomination.

The five-night student-run simulation, "The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University," will conclude Monday, Nov. 7. The 6:30-8:30 p.m. "America Selects a President" campaign and Electoral College voting is slated to take place in Western Hall on the WIU campus.

On Thursday, Nov. 3, the Viable Third Party National Conventions, with keynote speakers, platform adoptions and president/vice president ticket nomination will be held in the University Union. Badges are needed to take an active role and vote in the Third Party proceedings. Students needing badges should contact Executive Co-Director Rick Hardy in the Centennial Honors College, telephone (309) 298-2228.

Convention times and guest speakers are as follows:

Green Party, 5:30-7 p.m., University Union Heritage Room. The speaker, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., will be Farheen Hakeem, National Green Party co-chair. According to her website,, she was born and raised in Chicago to immigrant parents, graduated from a public high school and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Oberlin (Ohio) College. Hakeem is the highest-ranking Muslim woman in any U.S. political party and is a public speaker on third party politics, women's rights, Muslim-Americans and grassroots democracy. In addition to speaking at the Green Party Convention, Hakeem will speak about the role of Muslim women in politics at 12:45 p.m. Nov. 3 in Morgan Hall 101A. The afternoon talk is open free to the public.

Tea Party, 6:30-8 p.m., Union Lamoine Room. At 6:40 p.m., Collin Hitt, senior director of government affairs at the Illinois Policy Institute ( in Springfield, will speak for the Tea Party. As an education specialist, his focus is on better educational options for Illinois children. His research focus is on school choice, educational funding and educational reform; and his findings have been covered in state and national media outlets, and his written commentaries have run in major Illinois newspapers.

The Libertarian Party, 7:30-9 p.m., Union Heritage Room. Adam Chacksfield, an assistant professor of political science at WIU from 2000-2005, will speak at 7:40 p.m. for the Libertarian Party. He helped establish, and advised, the College Libertarian student organization on Western's campus. He is a teacher with the Macomb Guided Meditation Group and a Nondual Dialogue Group, which he formed. Chacksfield earned his bachelor's degree at the University of York in the United Kingdom, and his master's degree and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.

Do college students have the heartbeat of the nation when it comes to selecting the next president?

Executive co-directors Hardy and John Hemingway both smile when they are asked that question. Why? Because college students are three-for-three picking presidents.

The Mock Presidential Election, a successful event at WIU in 2007, is patterned after a previous simulation Hardy and Hemingway organized at the University of Iowa in 1976, and another model Hardy conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia (1988). In all three scenarios, the simulation winner was, in reality, elected president.

From 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 7, Western Hall will be transformed into an election convention hall with all the bells and whistles. The popular vote and the Electoral College votes will be counted, and the next president and vice president will be named, Hardy said.

This final session is open to the public, but students need badges to take an active role and vote in the proceedings. Students may pick up badges at the door with proper student identification.

Congressman Aaron Schock and Green Party candidate for president, Dr. Jill Stein, are scheduled to speak briefly during the final night of the MPE, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 in Western Hall, when students elect the next president and vice president of the United States.

Stein will also be give a 2 p.m. Nov. 7 public lecture titled, "A Green New Deal for America," followed by a meet and greet session in Morgan Hall 101A.

The outcome of the Mock Presidential Election is not just to select the next president; it is also to learn about civic responsibility and participation, according to Hardy.

"Students should leave with a better understanding of the American political processes; the differences between presidential caucuses and presidential primaries; the importance of local political participation; the differences among the various political parties, what they do and why they do it; and the actual presidential candidates, their records and issue positions. Most importantly, we hope everyone leaves the venue with a desire to participate in our political system in the future," Hardy added.

Control Shift
Journalism students are reporting on each scheduled activity, and their reports can be read at The blog is also available as a print insert through the Western Courier student newspaper and as a standalone distribution at each MPE session.

Live on wiutv3
Also reporting from each session are broadcasting students, from the anchor desk to the variety of behind-the-scenes workers that it takes to run the wiutv3 production. The show is aired live on Macomb's cable channel 3.

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