October 26, 2016 08:27 AM
High schoolers across the state are getting in on the political action. Thousands of students, most who are not yet 18 years old, are voting.
As high schoolers filed into the school auditorium at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul on Tuesday, their election judge friends were ready and waiting, offering up simple instructions on how to vote.
"Their vote matters, they need to see how accessible the voting process is, that they can participate, decisions are made by those who show up," said Eric Erickson, a government, politics and history teacher at Como Park.
This is the first statewide mock election for the presidency.
Secretary of State Steve Simon says this is about getting good voting habits started early.
"We want students to think of themselves as voters even before they can vote because then they will vote and if they vote they will likely make it a lifelong habit," he said.
Students at almost 300 high schools are voting this week.
"This is kind of a good practice run to see what the ballot looks like and stand in the cubicle to see who you want to vote for," senior Lizzy Larson said.
Instructors say the ballot may have been overwhelming, there were nine presidential parties listed.
"It was nice to know you didn't have just the two big candidates on the ballot," senior Trenton Phillippi said.
"We've been having a lot of discussion and people seem really informed and they have their own opinions too," senior Hannah Rhee added.
So opinionated, some of the 17-year-olds would like to vote now.
"We really have a voice and opinions and we really want to make them known, so I think it's good to have this," Divine Uchegbu said. When asked if she wished she turned 18 in the next few weeks, she replied "Yes, I wish, I wish, I wish."
When senior Eli Freberg was asked if she wished she could vote this election season already, she responded, "Yes, and no. Yes, because it's such a crazy year. I know my vote would have an impact, but no because it's such a crazy year. I don't want to be part of this."
The results will be broken down by school, and will be available next week.
Updated: October 26, 2016 08:27 AM
Created: October 25, 2016 10:01 PM
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