Dover, Del.–October 20, 2004Beginning Monday, October 25th and ending on Wednesday, October 27th, school students across Delaware will participatein the National Student/Parent Mock Election, which is the largest voter education project in the country.Students in grades 4-12 in all 19 school districts, charter schools and non-public and private schools will once again cast their votesfor their political candidates.
In 2000, more than 44,000 public, non-public and private students participated in Delaware’s mock election program, and among the results,selected Al Gore, Thomas R. Carper, Michael Castle, Ruth Ann Minner, John Carney, and Donna Lee Williams asPresident, Senator, Congressman, Governor, Lieutenant Governor and State Insurance Commissioner respectively.This year, Delaware students will choose candidates running for the offices of President, Congressman, Governor, Lt. Governorand Insurance Commissioner.
The program is designed to teach students and parents about the voting process and the benefits of civic participationby involving them in realistic simulations of all aspects of the electoral process. In the days preceding the general election of 2000,more than 6 million elementary, middle school, and high school students and some of their parents cast votes through the mock electionsfor national and state candidates.
“The Mock Election involves students in the voting process so they will eventually become voters themselves,”said Lewis Huffman, Education Associate for Social Studies at Delaware’s Department of Education.“This program actively involves our students in a full-fledged campaign to choose the candidates they feel will best serve their communities.”Added Huffman, who also serves as Chairman for this year’s mock election, “Hopefully, the enthusiasm the students have for this programwill be brought home to their parents who will listen to their children and then get out and vote in November.”
Each school district has a coordinator to help prepare students for the upcoming election.Lesson plans developed by Delaware teachers and linked to the Delaware Social Studies content standards have been placed onlineto encourage classroom activities and learning. The lesson plans inform students about the electoral process,promote discussion of key issues in national campaigns, and prepare the students to take part in the Mock Election.Students can also participate in debates, issue forums, press conferences, candidate nights, rallies,and inaugural balls as part of the Mock Election in their school.
“Once again, all mock voting in Delaware will be tabulated electronically and results forwarded back to the schools,”said Frank Calio, Commissioner for the Department of Elections. “Each vote is immediately recorded and instantly transmittedto the Department’s main server. When the voting is over, the schools will immediately know the resultsand can then announce their candidate choices at the convention.”
Commissioner Calio is anticipating the largest turnout of student participation ever in the First State.“I have already heard our students ‘talking the talk’ and schools are preparing for this election and they are excited!”Added Calio, “Our worst turnout for young voters is the 18-25 year-old group, so having our students involved in the voting processat an early age will hopefully remind them of their responsibility as an American to vote when they become eligible.”
The Mock Election Convention will be held at Legislative Hall in Dover on Friday, October 29, from 10:00 a.m. until noon.Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor and Attorney General Jane Brady, honorary co-chairs,will be on hand to listen to the roll call of votes and the final results from each of the participating delegates from school districts,charter schools and non-public schools. Governor Ruth Ann Minner will also pay a visit to the conventionand congratulate the student delegates for their participation in the mock election.
For the first time, a “Governor’s Trophy” will be awarded at the convention to the school who has the highest voter turnout.Also, trophies will be awarded to the largest voter turnout for a small school and a “Spirit” award is to be givento the school that exhibits the most enthusiasm at the convention.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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