Mock Election

Students exercise their voting power, officials pay close attention
Posted on 11/01/2012

With Election Day around the corner, area officeholders have their eyes on Poplar Bluff Senior High to get a sense of how Butler County is going to vote come Tuesday, Nov. 6.

A mock election was held at the High School on Halloween day, giving students a chance to put into practice the concepts they are learning in social studies and be a part of history, as citizens prepare to elect the next president of the United States.

A tradition of Poplar Bluff Schools every four years since 1996, the mock election yields a turnout often strikingly similar to that of the county’s, according to event organizers.

“Students tend to vote how their family votes because of what they hear at the dinner table,” explained Mitch Davis, a PBHS graduate of the Class of 2010.

Volunteering to help out during the event, Davis picked up voting booths from the Butler County Courthouse where he was informed that county officials are interested in finding out how the students vote. “Adults are taking this seriously,” Davis said to a group of high schoolers during an advisory class on Wednesday.

With few exceptions such as the uncontested seats, the ballots passed out to students included national, state-wide and county races, along with a couple select ballot issues that are most familiar from government classes.

“Whether directly or indirectly, we are all subject to the rules, regulations and policies that are passed in Congress,” said Gail Rosmarin, social studies department chair. “Of course (students) are influenced by their parents, but we try to get them to understand why they feel that way, encouraging them to think.”

Rosmarin was instrumental in originally instating Mock Election Day at the high school, along with former instructor Mark Henson, who both taught contemporary issues. The idea is for every student to get to participate in one presidential mock election before they graduate in hopes that they may be more apt to vote once they come of age.

American history teacher Paul Conover referred to the event as a “practice run” to combat “voter apprehension.” He told his students yesterday: “You have the same amount of voting power that Justin Bieber has.”

Conover continued: “If I live to be 80, I have the chance to help determine the president 15 or 16 times over the course of my life. That’s kind of a big deal. If you don’t vote, then I get the upper hand.”

An 18-year-old senior who plans to vote in the actual election, Hunter Pyland, mentioned that while he does “trust the beliefs” of his parents, they grew up in a different era, and “it is a crucial time” for his generation, considering they will soon enter college, the military or the job market.

“It’s very empowering to take my own future in my own hands,” Pyland said.

While some students may agree with their parents, world history teacher Kim Glick pointed out that others are more inclined to do the opposite. “You may see some rebellion, where the students decide, ‘What mom says I go against,” Glick stated.

Alexa Miller, a junior, said she chose third party candidate Gary Johnson for president because she believes he has good ideas for everyone, but she also wanted her vote to standout, she admitted.

“There are definitely two sides to the issues,” Miller said, reflecting on her experience manning the freshmen precinct. “Some students feel very strongly over who they will vote for, and some really don’t care. It’s great to see all kinds of opinions.”

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Cutline: Sophomore Nathanael Fain casts his ballot in the box on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Poplar Bluff High School during the mock election.

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