In 2012, only half of 18-to-25-year-olds eligible to vote made it to the polls, compared with 72 percent of the elderly, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
There’s a great new organization, America’s Mock Election, aimed at preparing young people to vote before they turn 18, and I’m proud to be involved with what they are doing.
The mission of America’s Mock Election is to make significant strides in creating the most comprehensive and powerful student-voter education experiences for presidential and local political races for 2016 and beyond.
America’s Mock Election founder Gerard Ferri is dedicated to creating a dynamic election program that will ignite an emotional spark and lead students towards a lifetime of voting. Ferri has experience with youth and mock elections, having run a similar campaign in 1992 with CNN.
This time around, Ferri is partnering with the University of Virginia’s Youth Leadership Initiative. The university’s Center for Politics is widely recognized as a leader in political analysis, as well as civic education, and its Youth Leadership Initiative boasts over 70,000 registered educators and provides an annual mock election that is second to none.
The 2016 National Mock Election will open its polls on Monday, Oct. 17. Polls will remain open through 5 p.m. EST on Oct. 27. You can register your students here.
Once polls have closed, the results will be sent to America’s Mock Election, where they will be used to produce a nationally broadcast online program to be shown in classrooms across the nation. The UVA Center for Politics’ Youth Leadership Initiative will provide curriculum materials, including lesson plans comparing the candidates, downloadable decorations, and a customizable ballot for all registered teachers. The ballot will include the offices of president and vice president, U.S. House and Senate, and all gubernatorial races. Teachers can add local races and referenda to make the experience more complete.
On October 28, I will co-host the nationally broadcast online results show. I’m very interested to see how our young citizens vote in this year’s election! I’ll provide a weblink to the results show as soon as it is available.