As Washington voters begin voting their General Election ballots by the Nov. 8 deadline, thousands of students in grades K-12 soon will have their own chance to experience voting by taking part in the annual Washington State Mock Election.
The Mock Election begins Oct. 31 at 9 a.m. and ends Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
The Mock Election is free and open to all Washington K-12 students who attend public, private or tribal school or are homeschooled.
Now in its 12th year, the Mock Election lets students experience “voting” for real candidates and measures. Sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State, the Mock Election is a nonpartisan educational program that teaches kids to be informed voters.
Students can vote by going to the Mock Election website at: vote.wa.gov/MockElection. Students who participate will receive free “I Voted!” stickers from their teachers.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the Mock Election helps teach students to vote and be active in civic life.
“I love the Mock Election because it introduces students to voting and shows them why it’s important,” Wyman said. “I hope every Washington student will graduate with the skills to fully engage in our democracy, and have the passion and commitment to do so. Voting is a key part of that.”
Students in grades 6-12 will “vote” for president, U.S. Senate and governor. They also will consider three initiatives: I-1433 (raising state’s minimum wage); I-1491 (restricting firearms access); and I-735 (asking Washington’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says constitutionally protected free speech excludes spending of money).
K-5 students will vote for president, U.S. Senate and governor, as well as I-1433.
The Mock Election happens a week before the end of the General Election, and the kids’ results sometimes offer an accurate glimpse on how adults may vote – or not. Last year, students narrowly passed I-1366 (restricting tax increases) and about 75 percent approved I-1401 (trafficking of endangered animals). The students’ results mirrored how adults voted, as about 51 percent gave a thumbs-up to I-1366 while 70 percent said yes to I-1401.
“It’s always interesting to see how students vote on key measures and whether they vote the same way as the adults,” Wyman said. “This is another reason why the Mock Election is fun.”
Results will be posted online for the state and by school on the Elections Division’s webpage at 1.usa.gov/bB9M3Q soon after the Mock Election ends on Nov. 4.
Teachers participating in the event are provided with kid-friendly voters’ pamphlets and sample ballots, and a recently updated Teaching Elections in Washington State curriculum book, which meets Common Core standards and includes Classroom Based Assessments with each unit, step-by-step voting instructions and a “Vote Here!” poster.
For additional information about the Mock Election, contact Jackie Wheeler in the Elections Division at (360) 902-4143 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wheeler also can provide contact information for local teachers who have said their students are voting, for an in-the-classroom perspective.