Mock election gives wins to most GOP candidates

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If Lincoln County students have accurately predicted resultswith their votes, the general election Nov. 6 will see Republicanscapture most state offices.

Students at Brookhaven High School and Enterprise AttendanceCenter cast their ballots Monday and Tuesday as part of the Promotethe Vote Initiative sponsored by the Secretary of State’sOffice.

More than 70,000 students across Mississippi were registered bytheir schools to participate in the Promote the Vote Initiative.Some schools voted Monday or Tuesday while others will cast theirballots today.

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The initiative is designed to encourage teenagers to performtheir civic duty and to participate in elections when they becomeeligible.

Students countywide voted to elect incumbent Republican Gov.Haley Barbour and Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood to secondterms. Barbour defeated Democratic nominee John Arthur Eaves 393votes to 279 while Hood outpaced Republican nominee Al Hopkins 379votes to 281.

State Auditor Phil Bryant, a Republican, won election overDemocratic nominee Rep. Jamie Franks as the state’s next lieutenantgovernor on a 291-275 vote lead while Republican Delbert Hosemannwas named secretary of state after outpolling Democratic nomineeRob Smith 349 votes to 306.

Barbour and Hood won the election at both BHS and Enterprise,with splits in the races for lieutenant governor and secretary ofstate. Brookhaven High School supported the Democratic nominees inthose races while Enterprise went Republican.

The lieutenant governor’s race proved to have the widestdisparity among voters with the largest margin of victory at bothschools.

The Panthers chose Franks over Bryant by a vote of 181 to 78while the Yellowjackets went the opposite direction. They choseBryant over Franks by a vote of 213 to 94.

The race for office of attorney general was the most contentiousat each school with a difference of only 47 votes (201-154) at BHSand 49 votes (178-127) at Enterprise, thus allowing Hood to win atboth schools.

Steve Sasser, who has organized the Promote the Vote campaign atEnterprise for the past several years, said statewide studentvoting has typically predicted the general election resultsaccurately.

“In the past, I would say it’s been close to 100 percentaccuracy,” he said. “The kids tend to vote the way the adults vote.I tend to believe that’s because of the media and what they heartheir parents talking about.”

However, Sasser said past campaigns have also shown him that thestudents have their own ideas about what issues are important in acandidate’s campaign.

“They know a bit more than we want to give them credit forsometimes,” he said. “Once they get to discussing the candidates inthe classroom, they discover they know more than theyrealized.”

Sasser said the Promote the Vote initiative, because of itshands-on approach, is an invaluable tool for educators attemptingto teach students about the voting process.

Students must be verified on the school’s “voter registrationlog,” a list of students eligible to participate, before they aregiven a ballot.

“We’re still doing the paper ballots because we can’t afford themachines for this, but it gives the kids an idea of what theprocess is like,” Sasser said.