Mock election provides real involvement

November 02, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Sun

After she was bombarded with questions from students about the presidential debates and this week's election, Jessica Ryan wanted to do something to get the students more involved.

The answer came to her when she heard about a national mock election, she said.

"I figured that there were probably a lot of kids who were interested in the election that never asked questions," said Ryan, who teaches American history and serves as the social studies department chairman at Edgewood Middle School. "A mock election would give them a chance to get their questions answered and be a part of the democratic process."

Called the National Mock Election ( www.nationalmockelection.com), the program is an initiative that takes children out of the classroom and into the real world, where they get to participate in a mock vote for the president.

Besides setting up the election, Ryan took the program beyond the classroom and into the community. For starters, she called Michael Geppi, chairman of the Harford County Republican Central Committee, and Wendy Sawyer, chairwoman of the Harford County Democratic Central Committee, to ask for supplies to make candidate buttons, she said.

They each donated $50 in the form of supplies and cash, and they volunteered to come and speak to the children, Ryan said.

After hearing their presentations, the students cast their votes for the next president.

Brendan Vines said getting to vote was cool.

"People tell me all the time I am not old enough to vote because I'm not 18," said Brendan, 13, of Abingdon. "I like the idea of having my voice heard, even though I am just a kid."

Brendan voted for Barack Obama, he said, because Obama plans to bring troops home from Iraq and lower taxes.

"McCain wants to keep sending troops to Iraq," he said. "I think if we send too many to Iraq, and someone bombs us here, there won't be anyone to fight back."

Cortney Brown likes both presidential candidates, but if she voted this Tuesday, she said, she would pick Obama.

"I like his idea of sharing the wealth," said Cortney, 13, of Edgewood. "Some people are too lazy to go to work and earn a living, but some people are disabled, and they can't work. They need help so they can live."

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