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By KELLY RICHARDSON
ELIZABETHTOWN — While many adults in Hardin County likely are wishing the election was over, after having seen one campaign commercial too many, students at a local middle school had the chance to go ahead and cast their vote.
Students at T.K. Stone Middle School will be soaking up lessons on the presidential election until November. They started Thursday, when they held a school-wide vote for the president plus a local community issue and a school topic.
Social studies teachers for each grade spent time discussing how the voting process works and the history of voting in the United States. Students were able to express an opinion on Elizabethtown’s 2 percent restaurant tax as well as school uniforms. Then they could use an actual voting machine to vote for the president.
“They get to kind of see it, experience it,” said Thad Elmore, a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher.
Elmore said he hopes this experience, something the school has done for past presidential elections, will make the students want to cast real ballots when they turn 18. Low voter turnout is another topic students discussed over the past week.
“Hopefully, you’re going to instill in them the desire to participate later on,” Elmore said.
Students had to fill out voter registration cards and show them to vote, so the process could mimic real life as closely as possible.
The votes should be tallied today.
Students discussed their views on the two presidential candidates, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, and some had to research their stances on various issues so they could make an informed decision.
Savannah Moore, a seventh-grader, said she voted for Obama, partly because of the historic nature of Obama’s candidacy.
“Already, just by running, he’s made a big impact on our country,” she said.
Keagan Keen, an eighth-grader, said she voted for McCain.
She thought his military experience would help him navigate the country through the war in Iraq, and she liked that he worked with the Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.
“I think he’s more of a relatable person,” she said.
After voting for the presidential candidates, T.K. Stone students will get a chance to vote for each other, as students will get a taste of campaigning in coming weeks.
The mock campaigns likely will begin after fall break and will run until the November election, Elmore said. Students will vote for their favorite candidate at the end of the program.
Elmore said teachers would like to have a party on Election Day for students so they can watch the results of their election roll in.
Kelly Richardson can be reached at (270) 505-1747.