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Students elect Bush

Volunteers answer phone calls at One CNN Center during the national mock election  

In this story:

Bush campaigns
on 'compassionate conservatism'

Beyond the ballot


ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Texas Gov. George W. Bush won the majority of votes in a national student mock election in which nearly 4.4 million students and their parents cast ballots.

A technical glitch Thursday delayed complete electronic voting results, but a combination of called-in votes and e-votes released by election officials indicated that Bush was the clear winner. Before the last e-votes were counted, the National Student Vote 2000 announced Bush the victor and the prediction held.

The National Student Vote 2000 is a combined effort of CNN Youth e-vote 2000 and the National Student/Parent Mock Election.

In the mock election, Bush received 54.3 percent of the votes, and Vice President Al Gore garnered 40.5 percent. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan received 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

CNN Student Bureau's Renee King visits one Georgia school where the students participated in the mock election

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Student views on the 2000 presidential race

Technical problems caused by a large volume of voters overwhelming the computer system tabulating the e-vote suspended voting for four hours Thursday and led officials to extend voting until 7 p.m. EST Friday.

CNN NEWSROOM anchor Tom Haynes talks with a student volunteer during the vote counting  

Alice Jones, national director for the National Student/Parent Mock Election, said she was encouraged by the number of students who participated. "The reason it crashed was that the volume overwhelmed the system. It was important that young people pioneer this technology."

Doug Bailey, founder of Youth-e-vote, said the four-hour suspension of voting did not produce a significant loss of votes as reported previously.

Voting in the mock election began October 23, and before voting started Thursday, 1.22 million votes were already cast, he said.

Bush campaigns on 'compassionate conservatism'

"We certainly hope that these students are correct about the outcome of the election," said Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for the Bush campaign.

"Gov. Bush's focus on giving young people more authority over their lives and prioritizing important issues like education, rebuilding the military and strengthening Social Security and Medicare is resonating and resonating among young people."

Americans learned Thursday evening that Bush pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges in 1976 in connection with an incident in which he left a bar after drinking several beers.

"It's important for young people to know that Gov. Bush is not proud of what he did," Sullivan said. "He did handle it in a responsible way by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and paying his fine. It is important for parents and leaders to set good examples, which he has done in office. And he strongly believes that drunk driving is wrong and young people should know that."

David Quintero is a high school volunteer from Marietta, Georgia  

Bush, the son of a former president, grew up in relative wealth in Texas. He attended a private boarding school and went to college at Yale University. Bush was a former managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team and was elected governor of Texas in 1994 -- despite having never held political office.

In an effort to attract more mainstream voters to the Republican Party, Bush has campaigned on the theme of "compassionate conservatism." Bush has used the phrase to define the connection between his traditional values and a more caring stance toward underprivileged people.

David Quintero, 17, said he cast his vote for Bush. "I've been a member of Young Republicans for four years," he said. David, who is a student at George Walton Comprehensive high School in Marietta, Georgia, said his research on former President Ronald Reagan and his parents' Republican affiliations influenced his decision and sold him on the GOP platform.

Kevin Gaston cast his vote for the Democratic Party's nominee in the National Student Vote 2000. "I voted for Al Gore because I agree with his international and local state views.... (He) wants to help minorities get jobs," said Kevin, 17.

Kevin Gaston is a high school volunteer from Marietta, Georgia  

Of the leading candidates for president, Gore has the most political experience. He served 24 consecutive years in public office, first as a U.S. congressman from Tennessee, then a senator, then vice president.

Gore supports testing teachers to make sure they are qualified to be educators, hiring 1 million new teachers to curb the shortage and requiring all fourth- and eighth-graders to take national standardized tests in math and reading.

"Al Gore's agenda to decrease class size, connect every classroom to the Internet and make college education affordable will help America's working families. We are confident that voters will realize this on Election Day," said Dag Vega, Gore's spokesman.

The ballot included nine presidential candidates: Howard Phillips, Constitution Party; Gore, Democratic Party; Ralph Nader, Green Party; Bernie Palicki, Independent; Harry Browne, Libertarian Party; Bush, Republican Party; David Reynolds, Socialist Party; Pat Buchanan, Reform Party; and John Hagelin, Reform-Natural Law Coalition.

Beyond the ballot

Students cast ballots for president and voted on issues such as improving the country's educational system, reforming criminal justice policies and restoring voters' faith in government.

With a partial tally from Thursday's vote, fifty-four percent of student voters said crime and violence are the most important issues facing America, and 39 percent of the students believe harsher penalties for criminals would improve the justice system.

Kacie Moreno-Schoen is a high school volunteer from Dalton, Georgia  

To improve schools, 41 percent of the voters said authorities should increase federal spending for public education, and half of the participants indicated that closer scrutiny of candidates' private behavior would restore the electorate's faith in government.

Final results on the issues will be available at a later date.

Kacie Moreno-Schoen, 17, is among those who favor increasing federal funding to improve public schools. "I am against vouchers. I come from a family of two educators, and I believe that there are only a certain number of pieces of pie to give out and there wouldn't be enough vouchers for everyone," said Kacie, a student at Northwest Whitfield High School in Dalton, Georgia.

Fourteen-year-old Christina Huntley said crime and violence are the biggest problems facing America. "Most people are trying to prevent school violence by changing the rules," said Christina, a student at West Laurens High School in Dublin, Georgia. "But people aren't asking us what we want. They are making decisions for us."

George W. Bush
Albert Gore Jr.
Working the vote
'A voice that can be heard'

Gore-Lieberman 2000
Democratic Party
Bush-Cheney 2000
Republican Party

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