The youth vote in Berkeley, California

A real stunner: Barack Obama out-polls Alan Keyes by more than a thousand votes.

By Andrew Leonard
Published October 31, 2008 7:37PM (EDT)

The polls have closed at Berkeley High School. And in a development that rendered pundits, campaign representatives and eligible voters who are related to me by blood (that would be my daughter, a BHS freshman) utterly stunned -- Barack Obama failed to break 90 percent!

Yes, it is true. The future pride and joy of the People's Republic of Berkeley thumbed their noses at a legion of elite pollsters: The senator from Illinois only tallied 1,156 out of 1,303 total votes -- a mere 88.72 percent.

John McCain placed second, earning 5.22 percent of the vote, holding off tough challenges from Ralph Nader (2.46 percent), Cynthia McKinney (1.61 percent), Bob Barr (.84 percent), and Alan Keyes (.46 percent).

Yes, that's right. Six Berkeley High School students voted for Alan Keyes. Outraged parents (me) called for an immediate investigation, unwilling to accept Berkeley High School principal Jim Slemp's explanation that the students in question had mistaken the conservative Christian African-American for Alicia Keyes.

Sadly, barely 40 percent of BHS's 3,300 eligible voters took part in the "mock" election, which means absolutely nothing for anyone concerned about how many young people will turn out in the "real" election. But of those who did vote, 67 percent said no to the attempt to ban same-sex marriage, Proposition 8.

At least one participant was spotted wearing her "I Voted" sticker with pride, imaginary as the vote may have been. Four years from now, she'll get the chance to participate for real.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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