BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Thursday was election day for some students in Bay St. Louis. North Bay Elementary School held a mock election as part of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s “Promote the Vote” campaign.
Even though the ballots are for pretend, heading to the polls taught the students a very real lesson on making their voices heard. This year’s theme was my voice, my vote.
“Voting is where you get to say something that you believe in, and I think that’s pretty cool," said fourth-grader Hayden Pate.
“We get to pick our own people, and not we get forced to pick one," said student Liberty Bell.
The school’s front lobby turned into a voting precinct as more than 400 third, fourth and fifth graders marked their choice for Mississippi’s next governor.
For Marcus Dampier, he didn’t take the decision lightly. The fourth-grader looked at the issues beforehand.
“I want teachers to have good pay and pay their bills off," Dampier said.
It's a good exercise in civic responsibility.
“They aren’t old enough to vote, but one day they will be old enough to vote and how when they say comes they need to become educated on the facts and not just go on hearsay and what they hear people talking. That they need to go and research it and look into things," said North Bay principal Crystal Anderson.
This mock election was made to feel as real as possible. Students even had their own voter ID cards.
State representative candidates Brent Anderson and Wendy McDonald, along with Waveland Mayor Mike Smith and Bay Saint Louis Mayor Mike Favre, served as the poll workers.
“When as they get old and all and realize this is some of the most important choices you can make some of them, and it comes down to everybody, and hopefully they’ll continue this throughout time," Favre said.
The students’ votes may not count in November, but the importance of the day’s experience is not lost.
“I hope they go home and this carries into their families and their communities, and their people go and vote on election day," Anderson said.
Jim Hood won the mock election with 42% of the vote. The students found out the results during an assembly Thursday afternoon. Secretary of State Hosemann was there to congratulate the students on a successful election and on being an 'A' rated school.