Tables Turn on Bush in Students' Mock Election

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - In a turn of events reminiscent of the 2000 general election, one presidential candidate won the popular vote, while the other candidate won the Electoral College tally -- in a mock election held this week at the annual conference of the National Association of Student Councils.

In this case, the Republican -- President George W. Bush -- won the popular vote, but the Democrat -- Sen. John F. Kerry -- won the Electoral College tally, which is the only one that matters.

In the contested 2000 election, Bush received more Electoral College votes than Democrat Al Gore, who won the popular vote.

Some 1,500 students involved in middle and high school student governments voted Tuesday in a mock election that closely resembled the actual election process.

The students, at their national convention in Las Vegas, voted on computers equipped with software that calculated both the popular vote and the Electoral College tally.

President Bush won the popular vote with 780 votes to Sen. Kerry's 683. The Electoral College vote, however, "thanks to battleground states like Florida and Arizona," tipped in Kerry's favor by a margin of 41 votes, according to the National Association of Student Councils.

Students were given information on the candidates prior to voting, and they were encouraged to discuss the issues with one another before casting their ballots.

Organizers said the goal of the event was to encourage students to become interested in the political process, not necessarily to gauge what the actual November outcome might be.

The National Association of Student Councils says its mission is to provide leadership development opportunities to "prepare and empower students to serve their schools and communities."

NASC is sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the group that sponsors the National Honor Society and the National Junior Honor Society.

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