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Youths to Cast Own Votes Election Night


A church youth group and El Concilio del Condado de Ventura will host a youth election for seventh- through 12th-graders on the night of the presidential election.

The students will have the opportunity Nov. 7 to vote for George W. Bush or Al Gore for president and Dick Cheney or Joe Lieberman for vice president, along with choosing from among the U.S. congressional candidates, high school district trustee candidates and a few of the statewide measures that pertain to youth, said Pete Johnson, youth director of All Saints Episcopal Church, which is hosting the event.

Johnson said he hopes the election generates greater excitement and enthusiasm among the next generation of voters and encourages them to keep up with current events.

"This is a tremendous opportunity that we only have every four years," he said.

In 1996, Mount Cross Lutheran Church hosted the youth event. The Camarillo church was an actual polling place and, during the youth election, some adult voters mistook the youth event for the real thing, Johnson said.

In that mock election, Bob Dole beat Bill Clinton.

Results of this year's youth election will be mailed to the new president and to all local representatives. As each student votes, he or she will be entered into a drawing for prizes donated by community members and local businesses.

"The idea behind the mock election is to give the students, as close as possible, the experience of actually voting," said Griselda Aguilar, chairwoman of the Mock Election Committee. "When it is their turn to vote, they will know just what to do."

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