Students Show Interest in Voting

By: Wendy Suares
By: Wendy Suares

Americans in the 18-24 age group are the least likely to vote.

But some Mississippi students, who are not old enough to vote, are already very interested in government.

"I think they should care because later on they will have to vote," said Mason Blakeney of Beat Four Elementary School in Wayne County.

"It's very important because you live here, so you should know who going to run the country and what's going to happen around the world," said Mylecia Jones of Coahoma County Junior High.

The Promote the Vote program sparked their interest. Students who enter a contest in association with "Promote the Vote" are recognized for their artwork, essays and videos.

Secretary of State Eric Clark started the program in schools across Mississippi 10 years ago.

"It's all about getting people tuned in to our government and our elections," said Clark, a former teacher.

"I think it could help a lot of people exercise their right to vote," said Steven Coleman of Coahoma County Junior High.

Students participate in mock elections and showcase their own ideas about government and how to get more people to the polls. This year's theme is the 40th anniversary of the voting rights act of 1965.

"I think it's important for everyone's vote to count if they're colored, white black or Asian," said Taylor McClelland of Orange Grove Elementary.

"I really expect some of these young folks to be running for office and getting elected within the next few years," Clark said.

"I'm going to try to be president and rule the country like it should be," said Mason Blake.

Since it began, 840,000 Mississippi students have participated in the "Promote the Vote" program. This year, 47 schools and more than 9,600 students participated.

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