OLYMPIA — As Washington voters ponder which candidates and measures they’ll support in this fall’s General Election, the state’s future voters have their chance to voice their opinions in the annual student mock election.
Sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State, the mock election is a weeklong event that ends at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2.
Students in grades K-12 can vote on real races and measures that appear on the 2012 ballot.
Voting is free and takes only about 10 minutes online at the mock election website (www.sos.wa.gov/elections/mock). Results will be posted on the website within 30 minutes at the end of online voting.
Secretary of State Sam Reed said the mock election is a valuable educational experience that helps form good voting habits for Washington students.
“The mock election is a great way to introduce students to voting and show them why it’s such a fundamental part of democracy,” Reed said. “It’s important that young people develop a sense of civic involvement, and I hope teachers will seize this opportunity and encourage students to practice voting. We want students to appreciate the significance of this right and privilege so they will register and vote for real when they turn 18.”
No preregistration is needed for students to vote in the mock election.
Students in grades 6-12 vote for most of the same statewide measures that adults see on their ballots.
K-5 students are given a shorter, more age-appropriate ballot.
Students, teachers and parents can read about the 2012 measures using kid-friendly voters’ guides.
Go to www.sos.wa.gov/elections/mock/TeachersBallots.aspx to view the sample ballots and voters’ guides.
Teachers may request free “I Voted” stickers for their students or download Teaching Elections in Washington State, a free curriculum guide written by Washington civics teachers.
Now in its ninth year, the student mock election saw a record 18,000 students take part in 2008.
Based on the number of “I Voted” stickers requested by teachers, Elections Division staffers predict 25,000 students will vote in this year’s mock election.
Recently, the mock election was named a 2012 Colleen Willoughby Youth Civic Education Award winner by the Seattle CityClub.
The mock election is funded in part through a federal grant from the Elections Assistance Commission.
More information is available on the mock election website.