Promoting the Vote

They are not yet old enough to drive, but organizers of Tuesday’s "Promote the Vote" hope all participants will be the driving force to push more people to the polls next week.

Tuesday, sixth and seventh graders at Magnolia Middle School were part of more than 105,000 Mississippi students who participated in this year's "Promote the Vote," mock election. Established in 1996, the initiative is designed to stress to students the importance of voting.

"Some of these students will actually be old enough to vote in the next presidential election," says seventh grade teacher Shannon Eldridge. "We're really hoping the kids will go home today and talk about voting and how excited they are about it and hopefully influence people at home to get out and vote as well."

Secretary of State Eric Clark says this especially goes for young voters.

"Statistically, young adults vote in the smallest percentages of anybody," says Clark. “In Israel where it's life or death they have 90 percent turnout, in the U.S. we do well if we get a 55 percent in national elections. That's not nearly as good as it should be. We take things for granted. We don't appreciate the freedoms we have."

At Magnolia Middle School, here's how the voting went in the mock election.

Presidential Race

Pres. George W. Bush 175
Sen. John Kerry 385

Congressional Race

Jim Giles 101
Lamonica Magee 85
Cong. Chip Pickering 334

For those of you who know that you will not be able to make it to the polls next week, you can still vote before Tuesday. The deadline for absentee voting in Mississippi is Saturday at noon.

Meanwhile in Alabama, the deadline to pick up absentee ballot applications is this Thursday. For more information, contact your local county courthouse.