PEPPERELL -- As a follow-up to an election in which Varnum Brook Elementary School's fourth-graders voted on which shape dog tag the town will distribute next year, Town Clerk Jeffrey Sauer visited the students Oct. 24 to thank them for their help in making the choice.

Sauer distributed extra copies of the tags, which are in the shape of a badge, to each student.

"I just wanted to thank you for the work that you did," Sauer said in his visit to the fourth-grade classrooms. "You guys picked something that nobody thought you'd pick."

Each year, a new shape is chosen for the mandatory dog tags that are distributed in Pepperell. This was the second year that Varnum Brook students made the decision.

On Sept. 17, the students held an election in the school auditorium after a week of campaigning for their choices. Some volunteered to count ballots, check their classmates in and out of the voting booths, and make sure the ballots were properly placed in the ballot box.

The badge won by a landslide, with more than 70 percent of the vote, beating out a heart, a crown and a circle with stars engraved on it.

The dog tag election, which mirrored a political election, showcased the successes of democracy, Sauer said, adding that the way the students campaigned and came close to a consensus was "the best way possible" to have an election.

"In an election, the numbers, the votes, they're going to decide it, whether it's by one vote, 10 votes or 100 votes.


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But what works best in an election is when the people -- you guys -- get together and talk a little bit about it, come to a decision and then have the votes confirm that decision," Sauer said.

The way the students voted was very similar to how people vote in other elections, he said, down to the campaigning process, the secret ballots and the way the students ensured that each person only got one vote.

"Next year we'll be voting for governor of Massachusetts and then a couple years from that we'll be voting for president again. You should probably go with your parents just to explain the thing to them, why we do these things, because you guys know how this process works," Sauer said.

Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter or Tout @CEFeinstein.