They can't vote, but a group of Lakeside High School students still wanted their voices to be heard.
Members of the school's Young Republicans Club and Young Democrats Club faced off in a debate Thursday to argue for their respective presidential candidates.
Students from each club took turns arguing such issues as the war on terrorism, health care, taxes, abortion and gay marriage.
"Pre-emptive is not only the best plan, it is the only plan," said Young Republican Josh Woodward, 16. "That's why the war (in Iraq) was justified."
His Democratic opponent, 17-year-old Nakul Shekhawat, said the war damaged America's global relations. That's something he said Sen. John Kerry can repair.
Debaters who drew the biggest crowd response were 16-year-old Democrat Danny Peyser and 17-year-old Republican Sana Hashmi, who clashed over abortion.
"By the time I finish this speech, six babies will die," Sana said.
She went on to provide graphic details of an abortion procedure.
"Is abortion a right or merely a convenience?" Sana asked, to overwhelming applause from an audience of Lakeside students.
Danny blamed President Bush's economic policy for increasing abortions during his tenure. He said many mothers are too poor to have children.
He also said life begins at birth.
"A fetus is not alive if it's not outside its mother's womb," Danny said.
Many other Columbia County schools held mock presidential elections this past week to educate pupils on the election process and allow them to register their opinions.
Pupils at Stevens Creek Elementary School will hold their general election Monday, but one class held an election Tuesday.
School officials said Bush won.
Watching how children would vote can be a guide for an upcoming election, Stevens Creek Elementary Principal Michelle Paschal said.
"The Weekly Reader (an education trade publication) election used to be the best indicator of who was going to win the race, because it was based on children's votes, and children vote like their parents," she said.
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