VIDEO: AHS students cast their votes

Published 10:46 am Friday, October 31, 2008

Nearly 1,100 students registered to vote in Austin High School’s Mock Election Thursday, a turnout teacher Rayce Hardy believes is indicative of the kids’ interest in politics.

“The vast majority are enjoying the opportunity,” said Hardy, who teaches economics and government. “It’s just been a really nice effort.”

Students in grades 9-12 went to the Annex during social studies classes and voted for local, state and national candidates in the second election at AHS. The first, held in 2004, was declared a success.

Email newsletter signup

Hardy said students learned about the candidates and their issues through media as well as social studies and Connect classes.

Members of Student Government, a new club at AHS, helped run the election.

Club member Sigin Ojullu, 17, said the elections teach students “how the process works.”

“I’m really passionate about politics,” the senior said. “A lot of our peers seem uneducated.”

Community volunteers also helped register students the day of the election, held in the Annex basement. Voting booths were borrowed from the city and county, and realistic ballots were used.

Most students who voted Thursday were not old enough to cast a ballot; the legal age is 18. However, many said they would vote Nov. 4 if they were of age.

“It was interesting,” said Howie Underwood, 16, a student in Jeff Anderson’s class.

He said if he were old enough, he would vote on Election Day.

“I would vote for Barack Obama, because he’s a Democrat,” Underwood said. “I’m a Democrat and we’re a Democratic family.”

Brianna Myers, 15, voted during Andrea Malo’s class. She said she would “most likely” vote if she were 18, and would vote for Obama for president.

“I think it would be good to have a change of race in the election and see how he runs the country,” she said.