UVa Center for Politics Launches Nationwide Mock Election

October 20, 2009

Polls opened Monday for the nation’s largest, student-only mock election, run annually by the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ Youth Leadership Initiative.

The secure online polls are open from Monday, October 19 until October 29 with results released on Friday, October 30. Students in over 23,000 classrooms across the country will have the opportunity to vote on issue questions about the economy, mass transit, national defense, and social security that came out of student E-Congress proposals from the past year.

In Virginia and New Jersey, the two states that have statewide elections this year, students will also vote for their preferred candidate for governor, while teachers across the country can customize their ballots to include local races.

The Youth Leadership Initiative Mock Election is the largest secure, student-only mock election in the nation. The 2009 mock election builds upon the success of the Youth Leadership Initiative’s largest-ever mock election in 2008, which included over 1.1 million students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and American schools abroad.

Throughout this year’s two-week voting period, students will learn about the election process firsthand by casting electronic cyber-ballots specifically tailored to each student’s home voting location. To that end, the Youth Leadership Initiative Mock Election is strictly an academic exercise and is not designed or intended to be predictive of the results of the general election.

Meg Heubeck, Director of Instruction for the Youth Leadership Initiative said, "The Youth Leadership Initiative Mock Election is an opportunity for young people to get their first taste of voting. By becoming engaged with the civic process from a young age, students develop a lifelong connection to, and respect for, our system of democracy."

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