Lott, Pickering get victories in student vote

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Students at Enterprise Attendance Center joined others acrossthe state Tuesday in casting fake ballots during a mockelection.

More than 230 Enterprise students in grades seven through 12became “registered voters” Tuesday as part of Secretary of StateEric Clark’s annual Promote the Vote program, said Steve Sasser, agovernment, economics and U.S. history teacher at Enterprise. Morethan 67,000 students from more than 200 schools were expected toparticipate.

“It gives them their first chance to see how the voting processworks,” Sasser said. “It also gives me a chance to tell about thevoting process, like which amendment gives them the right to vote.Most of the younger students have no idea what a Republican or aDemocrat is, and it gives our government class an opportunity toexplain the difference.”

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Enterprise has participated in the program for at least eightyears of the 10 years it has been effect, Sasser said.

“We think this is very important because the young people askquestions about the candidates, the parties and the process,” hesaid. “The kids are starting to ask if we’re voting this year andwhat they are voting on.”

The ballots, sent to the school by the Secretary of State’soffice, were tailored for Lincoln County. Enterprise students votedon races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. Third CongressionalDistrict.

Incumbent Trent Lott, R-Pascagoula, soundly defeated opponentsErik R. Fleming, a Democrat, and Harold M. Taylor, a Libertarian,for the U.S. Senate. Lott gathered in 234 votes to Fleming’s 54 andTaylor’s 19 votes.

Incumbent Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, a Republican,also captured more than four times of the vote of his nearestchallenger. Pickering received 229 votes. Jim Giles, anindependent, collected 55 votes while Lamonica McGee, a Reformist,received 33 votes.

The students did not vote on local or regional elections. Otherraces appearing on actual Lincoln County ballots Tuesday includeDistrict Four Court of Appeals, Position 1; District 15 ChanceryCourt judge, District 14 Circuit Court judge, Places 1 and 2; andcounty school board member in Districts 1 and 2.

“It was short and simple,” said freshman Nathaniel Weathersby,14, after casting his ballot. “I’ll probably vote when I’m oldenough.”

Generally, Sasser said, the mock election has proven to befairly reliable in forecasting the winner for nationalelections.

“If I’m not mistaken, they have always got the nationalelections right, but sometimes they don’t get the lesser electionsright. But it’s very close to being 100 percent accurate,” hesaid.

Sasser attributes the successful forecasts to students payingattention to the views of their parents when they are discussingpolitics and the messages they receive through the candidates’advertising in the media.

“It’s interesting to hear the kids’ questions. A lot of them aregood questions,” he said.

The results of the Enterprise election will be forwarded toClark’s office and compiled with the results from other stateschools. The results of the statewide election will be sent to theNational Student/Parent Mock Election in Hartford, Conn., todetermine national results.