The fourth-graders at Southern Elementary School can't vote Tuesday, but they got a taste of the democratic system with a mock debate on Monday.

The students, plus a moderator, acted as the presidential and vice presidential candidates, debating topics ranging from health care to education, just like the men who are vying to be the nation's president.

Moderator Valerie Harrigan asked questions, and each "candidate" had an opportunity to give his or her views, just like a real debate.

"I am truly proud of the health care law," said Alex Somerville, who played the part of President Barack Obama.

Nick Holloway, who played presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said the law is government overreach, and if elected, he would "fix the health care problem.

York County state Sen. Mike Waugh, left, of Shrewsbury Township, fixes the tie worn by Nick Holloway, who played Mitt Romney during a mock debate Monday at
York County state Sen. Mike Waugh, left, of Shrewsbury Township, fixes the tie worn by Nick Holloway, who played Mitt Romney during a mock debate Monday at Southern Elementary School. (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
"

When it comes to education, both sides agreed children should come first.

"We will focus on what is best for our kids," said Christine Hetzer, acting as Vice President Joe Biden.

Savannah Lesley, as vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, said "Students will benefit greatly from our plan, a chance for every child."

The four candidates fielded additional questions on Social Security, immigration and the economy and ended by asking the school audience for their vote.

"Vote for me, we are all in this together," Alex said.

"Vote for me. The federal government has grown too large," Nick said.

Once the debate ended, students returned to their classes, but not before sharing their opinions on today's election.

"I would vote for Mitt Romney, because I am not into Obamacare," said Jessica Fox, 11.

Sravya Konmui, 11, said she would vote for President Obama, because "I like his positions."

Several students talked about the importance of voting, but Payton Carrick, 12, might have put it best.

"I loved the debate, and it reminds us no one should skip voting. It is very important," he said.

It was an exciting time for the five participants and a big moment for Valerie Harrigan, who was the moderator.

"She has been watching the news and watched some of the debates, and she wanted to wear just the right outfit so she would look professional. This was a great experience for her and all the students," said her mother, Sandy Harrigan.

"We're very proud of her. She did her homework," said her dad, Errol Harrigan.

Students who participated in the debate were selected by their fellow students, and teachers chose topics they thought the students would understand, teacher Sue Thomas said.

All of the fourth-graders took part in various activities to prepare for the debate and will run the polling places when the whole school, located in the Southern York County School District, takes a vote today.

The goal is to help them "understand a little bit more about the importance of voting, the history behind our democratic system, and how it affects everyone," Thomas said.

"We have an obligation to teach our students how important it is to vote. It is part of being a well-rounded citizen," she added.

Go here for all your election news.