One-by-one students slid their ballot into the voting machine.
Approximately 175 juniors and seniors at Shroder High School cast their vote in a mock election with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose standing nearby, offering instruction and talking to students about the importance of exercising their right to vote.
At issue in the mock election: abolishing the Electoral College.
LaRose, along with representative from the Hamilton County Board of Elections, paid a visit to the school to meet with students, answer their questions about the voting process and encourage students to register to vote.
“Being the Ohio Chief Elections Officer is something I really enjoy,” LaRose said to the students. He was elected to the Ohio Secretary of State post in November 2018. He previously served in the Ohio Senate.
After graduating from high school, LaRose enlisted in the military, serving in Iraq. He witnessed Iraqi residents participate in the voting process with about a 70 percent voter turnout, he said.
“We don’t get a 70 percent turnout very often,” LaRose said to the students standing before them in the school’s gymnasium. “This (voting) is something you should not take for granted,” he added.
“And while many people take an interest in the presidential election, the election of school board members, city council and county officials is just as important,” he said. “Those are the people right here in our own backyard.”
LaRose encouraged students to get involved in the election process, even if they were not 18 years old yet. He invited students, 17 years or older and a high school senior, to participate in the Youth at the Booth program and assist voters at polling sites.
“You can add this experience to your resume and get paid for your time,” LaRose said.
As a poll worker, students are expected to attend a training session at the Board of Elections, set up the polls and work the polls on Election Day, earning a stipend of $181.
The Ohio Secretary of State also reminded students that once they are registered to vote, they can take advantage of early voting. “Ohio has 28 days of Early Voting before an election,” LaRose said.
Shroder High School Senior Mikayla Ellison said the Secretary of State’s visit provided her with a better understanding of his job responsibilities.
When asked what he learned, Jaquwan Henderson, also a senior, said “One vote does count.”
The results of the mock election showed an overwhelming response for abolishing the Electoral College, with 154 Yes votes and 15 No votes.