Selma youth participate in mock election

Published 8:12 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

It’s no secret that Selma has a rich history when it comes to voting and the right to vote for all people. The impact that the city had on voting rights and Civil Rights in general is par to none, and that’s why one group set out to make sure the young generation knows their history, and takes advantage of the rights people fought so hard to get 50 years ago.

On Aug. 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into federal law making racial discrimination at the ballot box illegal.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Selma-Dallas County Friends of the Voting Rights Trail not only held a celebration, they also did their part to help educate people in the community.

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Wednesday, the group held a mock election at the Dallas County Courthouse that gave sixth through 12th grade students the opportunity to see what it was like to cast a vote and let their voice be heard.

Chairman of the celebration, Brian Gosa, said it was important to start teaching the students the importance of voting and introduce them to the concept. We think it was a great opportunity for the youth to get a first hand experience at voting.

According to the United States Census, the national voting rate in 2014 was 41.9 percent and only 17.1 percent of 18-to-24 year olds voted.

That’s why we feel like having a mock election for the students is so important in getting them interested in voting and being informed about what’s going on around them.

“Selma has been known as the birth place of the Voting Rights Act, so it’s very important to know your history and know the things that have happened here. But in knowing that history, it also brings about a great responsibility for all of us citizens here in Selma to know what voting means,” Gosa said.