Musketeer-green thumbs were a badge of civic engagement Thursday at Greenup County High School, where a senior social studies class held a mock presidential election.
The election simulation included secret ballots, private voting booths and precinct signup tables where students signed in to vote by pressing their thumbs into a green ink pad and then beside their names.
Five days before their parents enter booths for the real election, students cast votes via paper ballot in the presidential race and in the fourth congressional district contest.
Manning the precinct tables were seniors in a class that combines social studies with speech and debate. They prefaced the exercise with class sessions in campaign mechanics, political rhetoric, and election basics like the electoral college, according to their teacher, Eric Boos.
“This is the perfect time to teach this stuff because it’s all right at our fingertips,” Boos said.
Students already are excited about the looming election and are eager to share their opinions, he said.
His students watched debates and discussed the issues raised. It is important that when candidates bring up matters like tax rates and clean coal voters know what they are talking about, Boos said.
For seniors, the voting simulation is a last chance to drill them on the process before they graduate, turn 18 and register for the real thing. Younger students get an introduction to the system.
“I think it’s important to participate in politics,” said junior Craig Nichols after casting his vote. “If you’re uninformed, you won’t be able to make important decisions.”
The election was open to all students but voting was not required. Senior Joe Browning said he was looking forward to seeing how many turned out and which direction the election went. Browning believes chances are a majority of students will vote for the candidate their parents favor, so the mock election will serve as a barometer for county sentiment.
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.