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COLUMN: Learning to cast a vote

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By Shannon Brock

In 1992, I voted for Ross Perot. I was just a few days from turning 8 years old, and I was in the second grade.

Obviously, it didn't count for anything and, as you might expect, my political reasoning wasn't very advanced. I feel pretty confident saying I had no idea what he stood for, and I had very little knowledge of America's party system or its election process.

I'm pretty sure I voted for Perot because I felt sorry for him. Out of the three "most popular" candidates, he had the least support, from what I'd heard. So I voted for him.

All that considered, it's 16 years later, and I still remember casting that first "vote."

And even though my vote and the votes of my classmates had no real effect on the election, they were at least indicative of how the election turned out. As you probably know, Bill Clinton was elected our president in 1992. Clinton also won the election at Lone Jack Elementary School, so apparently our student population as a whole knew what it was talking about.

My guess is that the same will be true for the elections that took place in Anderson County's elementary schools this week. At the very least, I expect those elections will mirror the results in Anderson County.

This year's presidential election is the hottest topic in a lot of American households and children in those households are taking notice. Better yet, the teachers of those children are taking notice and using the election to their students' advantage.

Several of those teachers have told me they try to stress to their students the importance of being a good citizen - a good citizen in their school and in their country.  Learning about the election and making an educated vote is just another part of being a good citizen.

And a lot of these students really are trying to make an educated vote. I talked to a few of them, and they know their stuff. They've researched the candidates on several non-biased websites, and they've made decisions based on actual reasons - not because they feel sorry for one candidate or the other.

Through these elections, students are encouraged to voice their opinions and they are taught that their opinions matter.

Some of them are probably more educated on this election than some apathetic adults of actual voting age. At the very least, they're more educated than I was in 1992.