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McCain triumphs in class mock vote

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has defeatedDemocratic candidate Barack Obama by the narrow margin of two votes- at Mamie Martin Elementary School.

Forty-three second grade students of Laura Ann Walker and LindaLowman elected McCain over Obama on a vote of 22-20 – with one votegoing for the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin – Tuesdayafternoon during a mock election that marked the culmination of theclass’s two-week study of basic American politics and the electionprocess.

“We’ve studied the electoral process, the party system, votereligibility and the basic backgrounds of the candidates,” Lowmansaid. “In the Mississippi framework, you study civics andgovernment in the third grade, so we’re actually a year ahead.”

Compared with other, less politically knowledgeable students -and a number of adults, for that matter – the Mamie Martinsecond-graders learned a lot during their two-week study andrecreated the election process on a classroom scale.

Each student researched the candidates and their parties online,then filled out a mock voter registration form and voted privatelyby secret ballot in an almost-empty room. The room was watched overby other students who served as poll workers and electioncommissioners.

Everyone received an “I voted” sticker once the deed wasdone.

Lowman said there was only one subject she had her studentsavoid – politics.

“We did not go into political beliefs,” she said. “This is allvery confusing for them at this age, so we went over the basicinformation.”

Lowman said the students aligned with either the Republican orDemocrat parties by selecting their preference between an elephantand a donkey. While the entire class is at least 10 years away fromvoting age, the rest of the country’s election enthusiasm has notbeen lost on the class, Walker said.

“These students are very aware,” she said. “They see it on TV,they discuss it with their families – it’s become a topic ofconversation around the dinner table. Even though they’re stillyoung, it’s good citizenship to be aware of what happens in theircountry.”

The two-week election unit is an every-four-years researchtradition begun 16 years ago by retired Mamie Martin teacher DianeMcIntyre and her assistant Kaye Hammond, who is still serving atthe school.