Students Exercise Right to 'Vote'

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

In seven days, Mississippians will turn out to vote in the presidential race, and elect congressional leaders, judges, and some other local officials into office. This week, high school and middle school students across the state are doing the same thing, in mock elections.

But even though their votes won't count officially, the students will carry the state in the future.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office says almost 200,000 newly registered voters will go to the polls Nov. 4, like Northwest Rankin High School senior, Sydney Hope.

"There's so many differing opinions and positions you can take on things," said Hope. "People want to voice their opinion and they want people to know what they stand for and they can do that through voting."

And as most of the twelve hundred students enrolled here cast a pretend ballot, the importance of voting for real is not lost.

"I believe everyone should have the right to vote," said Sh'vante Wiggins, a sophomore at Northwest Rankin. "And it's just my way of thinking I did, you know, have my opinion of what I believe in."

Northwest teacher, April Rice, helped organize the mock election here. She says lectures on voting have gone beyond the classroom.

"And so they go home, back to their parents and discuss more of the issues with their parents, which in turns helps their parents go out and to vote also," Rice said.

Hosemann said he thinks the mock election will have lasting effects in each students future.

"It's real important to get them to learn how to vote and feel comfortable about the voting process," said Hosemann. "That's why this is so important. These young men and women will end up voting their whole lives which is what we want."

Hosemann said be patient when you go to the polls Nov. 4. With a record turnout anticipated, there could be long lines and waiting.

The secretary of state said the poll workers will do their best to make the voting process as easy as possible.

Hundreds of schools across the state are participating in mock elections of this type.


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