published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

North Georgia and Hamilton County schools hold mock elections

Parent volunteers Becky and Kenny Fowler check the ID card of Brittiany Lawton as she and other Rossville Middle School students participate in a mock election at their school Tuesday, expressing their choice of presidential candidates.
Parent volunteers Becky and Kenny Fowler check the ID card of Brittiany Lawton as she and other Rossville Middle School students participate in a mock election at their school Tuesday, expressing their choice of presidential candidates.
Photo by Tim Barber.

A red, white, black and blue sign hangs on the brick wall across the hallway from the office at Rossville Middle School.

"Vote for Mitt Romney for president," the sign says. "Vote during lunch time on November 6, 2012."

The poster was the first of a slew of student-created campaign signs that lined the hallway leading to the cafeteria, where students cast their vote for president.

Rossville was one of several North Georgia and Hamilton County schools hosting mock elections on Tuesday to give students an opportunity to vote and also a better understanding of the election process.

Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy in Chattanooga also held mock elections.

Students waited their turn to enter one of two cardboard voting booths. A Romney sign hung near one booth, while an Obama sign hung closer to the other. Once in the booth, students made an X to indicate their vote for Romney or Obama.

"Don't put your name on it," Becky Fowler instructed.

Students without ID cards were still allowed to vote after signing their name, grade and homeroom teacher's name on a small note card.

Marcus voted for Obama.

"Mitt Romney is trying to raise gas prices," the student said. "He's for the rich, not for the lower workers or those who can't afford to take care of their families."

Next to the voting booths for president, other Rossville parent coordinators and volunteers raised money by allowing students to vote for one of five coaches who agreed to get a pie thrown in his face.

Students voted by putting their name on a ticket after putting money in a jar. The coach who raised the most money will get the pie in the kisser.

The money will go to the school booster club for parties and pep rallies, officials said.

Even though a child's vote doesn't count in the real election, kids should have something to do on Election Day, said 13-year-old Aaron Harris.

Children should get an early start on voting so they'll be more likely to vote in the future, said Aaron, who cast his vote for Obama.

Havenleigh Harris, 12, said having a mock election shows students how to vote and motivates them to learn about different issues.

Everybody who wants to be president should have a chance at the job, said Havenleigh, who voted Romney. Obama has been president for four years and now Romney should get a turn, she said.

Rossville Middle School teachers said they wouldn't know until today which candidate won the election.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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