The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County provided a "Registration and Voting" booth at the Business and Professional Women's annual Reality Store held Monday at the Boys and Girls Club. The BPW's Reality Store exposes eighth graders in Montgomery County to the realities of adult life with students who have been assigned a profession, salary, and family situation (married, single, number of children). Southmont, Tuttle Middle School, and Northridge students participated in this year's Reality Store.

Students moved from booth to booth with checkbooks, calculators, and clip boards, making decisions based on their scenarios to pay for taxes, housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, clothing, groceries, child care, furniture, medical expenses, charitable gifts, entertainment, pets, etc. Many students were forced to take a "second job" or visit the bank to take out a loan when their funds fell short. It is a very eye-opening experience for the students.

Upon visiting the League's booth, students were "registered" to vote by determining where they live on a Crawfordsville or Montgomery County area map. Once registered, the students were given a ballot and directed to a voting booth in order to cast their opinions on three issues of interest to 8th graders. A total of 438 students voted: Tuttle 157, Northridge 146 and Southmont 135.

Voting results:

Cyber-bullying on social networking sites such as Facebook is a problem at our school.

Southmont Tuttle Northridge

Yes 36% 46.5% 33.3%

No 64% 53.5% 66.6%

Cell phones should be allowed on your person during the school day.

Southmont Tuttle Northridge

Yes 86.6% 63.9% 75.5%

No 13.3% 36.1% 24.5%

Student athletes should be required to maintain a C average in order to play.

Southmont Tuttle Northridge

Yes 71.9% 87.3% 85%

No 28.1% 12.7% 15%

After placing the completed ballot in the ballot box, each student received a "I Voted" sticker and a "VOTE" bag with an official voter registration form, city or county map, "Vote Centers" informational flyer, and two League publications: FOCUS on Montgomery County, and "Vote: A Step By Step Guide to Voting and Why You Should Vote on Election Day." By providing these items for the students to take home to share with their families, the League hopes to educate not only Montgomery County's 8th graders about the privilege and duty of voting, but also to encourage the adults in their lives to participate as well.

David Maharry, Ginny Maharry and Gail Pebworth coordinated the efforts of League members who assisted with the "Register and Vote" booth. Other volunteers included Patience Barnes, Judy Cottrell, Betty Culley, Barb Easterling, Ruth Hallett, Helen Hudson, Dave Long, Dian Moore, Karen Patton, Mary Lou Rewerts, Lynn Robison, Deb Switzer, and Margie Zimmerman.

The League's participation in the Reality Store is an effort to encourage the 8th grade students in Montgomery County to take seriously their responsibility to participate in the electoral process when they reach the age of 18 and become eligible to vote.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join the LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website, send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville 47933, or e-mail