(Frankfort, KY) If Kentucky students had it their way, every member of Kentucky's delegation to Congress would head back to Washington D.C. next January. Nearly 28,000 Kentucky middle and high school students went to the polls this week to vote for their favorite candidates for congress and to voice their opinions on a number of general issues. Over 100 Kentucky schools participated in the National Student Parent Mock Election coordinated by Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Over 37,000 students from 100 others schools will cast their ballots before November 7, 2006, although those numbers won’t be included in totals reported.
“It is essential that students become acclimated to the democratic process, and there is no better way than for them to participate in the process themselves,” stated Secretary Grayson. “We hope that this will begin a lifelong commitment to voting among these young people.”
The students overwhelmingly chose Ed Whitfield (R) over Tom Barlow (D) 58.8% to 41.2% in the 1st congressional district, Ron Lewis (R) over Mike Weaver (D) 60.0% to 40.0% in the 2nd congressional district, Hal Rogers (R) over Kenneth Stepp (D) 65.9% to 34.1% in the 5th Congressional District, and Ben Chandler (D) over Paul Ard (Libertarian) 77.6% to 22.4%. In a slightly closer race, Geoff Davis (R) defeated Ken Lucas (D) and Brian Houillion (Libertarian) 49.5% to 37.7% and 12.8%, respectively, in the 4th congressional district. The nail-biter of the mock election was in the 3rd congressional district where Anne Northup (R) defeated challengers John Yarmuth (D), Donna Mancini (Libertarian), W. Ed Parker (Constitution) 46.4% to 46.2%, 4.4%, and 3.0%, respectively.
Students noted that the most important issue facing the United States today is the war in Iraq. Students also voiced their opinion on immigration policy and global warming.
The National Student/Parent Mock Election makes students and parents aware of the power of their ballot by actively involving them in a full-fledged national mock election. In the 2004 presidential year, over 4 million students, parents, and teachers participated from across the country and 14 countries/territories around the world where Americans are based. Over 40 million have participated since the project began.
In addition to the mock election, curriculum enhancements were sent to teachers in order to further incorporate the election into their instruction. This is part of a statewide effort to teach students about civic responsibility and the power of voting via the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK). The CLIK is a multi-year effort that will determine a strategy for enhancing long-term civic engagement and civic literacy within the Commonwealth and will recommend a plan for improving civic engagement and literacy.
“By involving students in the democratic process, we hope to energize young people to remind their family and friends about the importance of voting on November 7th,” said Secretary Grayson.
Many schools went beyond just hosting a mock election and expanded the project to include mock voter registration, polling sites, and even mock debates. Many schools also included local elections on their ballots. Much like Kentucky’s real elections, those results are only reported at the local level. Interested parties can check to see the school by school non-local results as well as statewide results on the state’s mock election website at www.sos.ky.gov/mockelection.
The National Student/Parent Mock Election is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with many national civic, educational, and business organizations cooperating on the project. The National Student/Parent Mock Election is the first organization to be officially endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of States.
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