Originally created 10/30/04

Learning their civic duty



If it were up to Greenbrier Elementary School fourth-grader Tabitha Kent, President Bush would continue to run the country for another term.

Tabitha, 9, voted for Mr. Bush in a mock election conducted for all grades at the Evans school Friday.

However, she admitted her choice was more of a vote against Democrat challenger Sen. John Kerry.

"I voted for Bush because I heard Kerry wants school to last all summer," Tabitha said.

Mr. Bush won in a landslide at Greenbrier Elementary, which employed an electoral college system.

By popular vote, Mr. Bush won 628 to 133 over Mr. Kerry, but Mr. Bush received all 34 electoral votes, which were determined based on each grade's class population.

Greenbrier Elementary Principal Jon Pike said most children vote the same as their parents, but by learning about the voting process and election terminology now, they have a better foundation for more informed decisions in the future.

"As they get older, hopefully they'll watch debates, listen to the candidates, read the newspaper and make a decision that may not necessarily agree with their parents based on what they've learned about the election process," he said.

The vote at Greenbrier Elementary was one of many to take place at schools in the Augusta area this week.

Mr. Kerry carried the day at Collins Elementary School in Augusta, 165-25. Pupils in grades three through five used study guides to examine the candidates' positions before voting in the school's media center Wednesday.

"If your sister got raped, John Kerry said that you should be able to have an abortion, but Mr. Bush said you shouldn't be," De'Marco Smith, 12, explained.

Di'Karte Guyden, 10, said he supported Mr. Kerry for his stance against the death penalty and his promise to bring the troops home from Iraq.

"Too many of them are getting killed," he said.

Only children with voter registration cards could cast a ballot at Paul Knox Middle School in North Augusta. Learning a real-life lesson, a third of students didn't bring it and were left out.

"They had to register to vote a week before, keep their card and show it in order to vote," said teacher Linda Longe, adding that Mr. Bush won, 263-105.

Mr. Bush also prevailed at North Augusta Elementary School on Tuesday after 944 students cast their votes. In most grades, Mr. Bush led by more than 50 percent, said Beth Meyer, a teacher at North Augusta Elementary who helped organize the mock election.

"We're definitely a Republican school," Mrs. Meyer said.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, Karen Ethridge at (803) 648-1395, or Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851.

Mock Election results

AIKEN COUNTY: North Augusta Elementary, Paul Knox Middle and Lloyd-Kennedy Charter schools

President Bush: 890 votes (68 percent)
John Kerry: 426 votes (32 percent)

COLUMBIA COUNTY: Greenbrier Elementary, Grovetown Middle, Riverside Middle, Martinez Elementary and Crossroads Alternative schools

Bush: 1,700 votes (79 percent)
Kerry: 447 votes (21 percent)

RICHMOND COUNTY: Collins Elementary, Goshen Elementary, McBean Elementary, Wilkinson Gardens Elementary and C.T. Walker Traditional Magnate schools

Bush: 622 votes (49 percent)
Kerry: 660 votes (51 percent)