Perot sweeps field in Carroll mock vote Clinton distant 3rd in student election

November 03, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Before voters started going to the polls in Carroll County today, their sons and daughters may have provided a peek at who could win.

Ross Perot won the majority of votes in mock elections held in county high schools and middle schools. Mr. Perot won 37.9 percent. George Bush took 35.8 percent, and Bill Clinton trailed with 26.2 percent.

Question 6, a referendum on preserving abortion rights in state law, passed with 52.7 percent of the vote.

School officials used to say that as the school election goes, so goes the county. But this year they're skeptical about whether the litmus test will remain valid.

"I think a lot of it has to do with their seeking independence," said Donald Vetter, supervisor of social studies for the schools.

Mr. Perot was a particular favorite in the middle schools: He swept them all except East and West in Westminster.

"I suspect they're hearing a lot of negative comments about Bush and Clinton, and what's the alternative?" Mr. Vetter said. "There's a man [Mr. Perot] who's independent and has a different approach."

George Bush was the clear winner in the Westminster middle and high schools.

Mike Gillispie, a senior who portrayed President Bush during the Westminster High School mock debate last week, expects his candidate to win the county -- and the country, for that matter.

During the debate, Mike said, the audience was clearly with him, cheering him often. Except when he opposed abortion. "When I spoke against it, I got booed," he said.

Personally, he doesn't agree with the Republican Party platform to outlaw abortion, but neither does he support Question 6, which he believes is badly worded, he said.

Like Mike, the two seniors who portrayed Mr. Clinton and Mr. Perot also support their men and would vote for them if they were only a year older and eligible.

Even though he can't vote, Mike said he plans to attend the Republican "victory party" tonight at Frock's. Jon Leiberman, who portrayed Mr. Clinton, will be at the Democrats' party.

Both said they would be working at polling places during the day.

Patrick Larkin portrayed Mr. Perot, but is more quiet in his support of his candidate.

He has tried to convince his parents, who he said will probably vote for President Bush, to consider Mr. Perot.

Even if he doesn't become president, he's a great man. He's accomplished a lot in his life," Patrick said.

After football practice, Patrick plans to go home and watch the returns on television.

Jon and Mike, however, are as partisan as any adults.

"I was Dukakis in middle school," Jon said, remembering the mock debate in which he participated at East Middle.

They said most students are not as aware as they should be about politics and elections.

"The educational system is so set on teaching certain things that current events are ignored -- and they're the most important things," Jon said.

Donald Hahn, the social studies teacher at Westminster who organized the mock elections and debate there, said schools don't bother with the elections between presidential years.

"I would like to do that, but the interest level is generally low," he said. "With all the other things we have to do, it wouldn't be worthwhile."

The three dozen or so students at Westminster who volunteered to set up the debates, voter registration and election did it on their own time.

But even as presidential elections go, this one far outshines the one four years ago, said Westminster sophomore Lauren Kadlubowski of Finksburg.

"The last election, everyone knew Bush was going to win," she said. "There are so many more issues now you have to worry about."

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