Local straw polls put

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2000

Bush in the lead in Pike Co.



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Staff Writers

Nov. 2, 2000 10 PM

If the students at Charles Henderson High School and the Brundidge Rotarians are "in the know," then George W. Bush will be the next president of the United States and Al Gore will be taking his show back to Dollywood.

Students at CHHS participated in a mock election yesterday and 492 students cast votes for their favorite candidates.

Bush tallied 257 votes to Gore’s 203 – an indication of how close the race is projected to be. Nader got the nod from six students and Patrick Buchanan and Howard Phillips each had a couple of votes. Twenty-two of the students were undecided on which candidate is best suited to lead the nation.

"It was a close vote," said Becky Ensey, government teacher and one of the straw poll organizers.

The straw poll is the second one in which CHHS students have participated, with the first coming in 1996. That year, true to the popular vote, President Bill Clinton led Republican challenger Robert Dole.

Another first in 1996 was the fact that Alabama student participation in the poll was the highest in the U.S. based on percentages of students participating.

"This is something we hope will be the case this year," Ensey said. "We will know more a little later after all of the results nationwide are compared and tallied."

The straw poll is sponsored by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, Ensey said, and serves to show the students the importance and the excitement of elections.

"We want them to learn to take an interest and to learn how the process works," Ensey said. "We want them to understand the candidates and this issues and to come to an understanding of what an election is and what it means."

It worked.

According to Ensey, students were buzzing with excitement to know the results of the vote.

"They were eager to get the results," she said.

Organized by Ensey and CHHS Principal Dr. Linda Felton, the vote was conducted during the first block period.

Teachers in first block passed out ballots to the students listing all of the candidates who will be on the ballot in Alabama.

"The ballots were pre-made and were passed out to students," Ensey said. "Every student in school during the first block voted in the election."

In Brundidge, last Wednesday, the Brundidge Rotary Club took a straw vote, and, Bush steam-rolled Gore 19 to 1.

For Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Roy Moore won easily with 17 votes to Sharon Yates’ three.

Native Pike Countian John Crawley was a heavy favorite for the Civil Court of Appeals Place 2. Crawley got 19 votes to Henry Steagall’s one vote.

The Rotarians said "yes" to the four amendments on their ballots. The count for Amendment No. 1 (Gas Tax/Trust Fund) was 19 to 2. Amendment No. 3 got a unanimous nod with 20 votes. Local amendments 1 and 3 also got the thumbs up from the Rotarians. Amendment No. 1 got 17 "yes" votes and No. 2 had 15 "yeas" and one "nay."