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Spreading the word on voting

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Mock election designed to inform students about politics

By Mike Wright

LECANTO — Dennis Nguyen is a little bit Mitt Romney. Nicholas Lahera is a little bit Barack Obama.

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Both said it’s not the candidate so much as the need to understand the issues and then vote.

Dennis and Nicholas are Lecanto Middle School seventh-graders who urged student interest Tuesday in the school’s mock election.

The school’s 700-plus students voted for president, and also chose from finalists for their favorite book cover from a book available for reading in the school library.

Media specialist Kris Schirmer said the idea was to encourage participation in the voting process and to pay attention as Obama and Romney debated issues in the last weeks of the campaign.

“Throughout the whole process, we wanted to help them as young people to be informed,” Schirmer said. “One student told me yesterday he wasn’t going to vote. But he voted today.”

Dennis and Nicholas presented what they call “Democalypse 2012” during the morning show at LMS. With each taking the role of one of the leading presidential contenders, the pair discussed issues and the real differences between the candidates.

“We spread the word on voting,” Dennis said.

And they looked the part. Nicholas wore a white shirt and black tie, with a copy of the seal of the United States and an Obama button attached. Dennis wore a “My name is Romney” I.D. badge.

Nicholas said he called Dennis on Monday night and suggested they dress up a bit for Election Day.

Both have paid close attention to the presidential race.

“I think he has done a really good job with the second and third debates,” Nicholas said, referring to Obama.

Dennis, who admitted his real preference is for Obama, said Romney also has campaigned well.

“Some of his politics are showing through. He did well on all the debates,” he said. 

And, like their parents and many Americans, both boys appreciate the interest the campaign has brought.

“It’s intense. The year is intense,” Dennis said.

Nicholas said the TV ads were everywhere.

“One minute Romney says something about Obama and the next minute Obama says something about Romney,” he said.

Their LMS debates haven’t followed that path.

“We haven’t been slamming one person or another person,” Nicholas said. “We try to get rid of stereotypes.”

Both said they believe fellow students appreciated the school’s mock election.

“They get the experience of knowing what it is to be part of the United States,” Dennis said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com. 

* For results of Tuesday’s mock election at Lecanto Middle School, go to www.citrus.k12.fl.us and click on the LMS website.