Middlesboro students participate in mock election

By Matthew Rand | 

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - Students at Middlesboro High School got to experience what it's like to vote in a general election today. The mock election was the culmination of weeks spent learning about the electoral process. Teachers say students did most of the work.

"The students have set up the ballots that we had for our primary. We did a Gallup poll yesterday. The students made all the signs that we have around here," said teacher Craig Callen.

As well as practicing voting, students had the opportunity to register in advance for the 2014 election. Teachers say everyone really embraced the event.

"The kids are excited when they come through. They're all asking questions as they come up here, even the people who were not in our classes, they're asking questions. They're making informed decisions, and I don't think a teacher could ask for anything more," said Callen.

Students got to cast their ballots using an actual voting booth on loan from the Bell County board of elections. Elections officials say the response from students has been impressive.

"This is probably, I mean really has been the most successful one that we've ever done. I mean it's been an adrenaline rush to watch the children actually reading it and understanding and asking genuine questions and caring," said Bell County Clerk Becky Blevins.

While most students will not be old enough to vote in the real thing this year, the ones that will be say they take their voting rights seriously.

"I feel like, you know, I need to vote. If I don't then I can't really complain about what's going on in our country," said senior student John-Paul Maiden.

Regardless of whether the students are eligible to vote this time around, school officials say they hope they learn that casting a ballot is important and should not be taken lightly.

The students cast 69 votes for President Barack Obama and 102 votes for Republican Mitt Romney. In other races, students selected Hal Rogers to continue representing the 5th Congressional district. Rick Nelson narrowly won the race for State Representative in the 87th district. Students chose Charlotte Webb, Jimmie Jones and Jeff Greene to serve on the Middlesboro Board of Education. They also approved an amendment to the Kentucky constitution supporting hunting and fishing in the state.

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