Teachers' Corner: Get involved in UVA's free 2009 mock election

Teachers' Corner: Get involved in UVA's free 2009 mock election

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics Youth Leadership Initiative -- a WWE Smackdown Your Vote! partner -- conducts a student-only, online, nationwide mock election for students in grades K-12 each year. Students have the opportunity to take part in the electoral process by voting for real candidates and issues.

For the 2009 mock elections, the elections on the ballot will include gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as referendums on both healthcare and social security (learn more). The mock election will run from Oct. 19-29. Teachers need to register before the Oct. 19 deadline. The results of the elections will be posted online Oct. 30. Visit the UVA Youth Leadership Initiative Web site, youthleadership.net, for any questions regarding the 2009 mock election.

Teachers also can sign up to have students vote on three E-Congress bills. E-Congress bills are bills created and drafted by students around the country (learn more). 

Teachers will have the ability to customize their school's ballot according to which issues and races the school chooses to vote on.

The 2008 mock election was the largest student-run mock election in the history of the University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Initiative. More than 1 million students took part in the voting process. All 50 states, plus the District of Colombia and U.S. schools abroad, took part in the mock election. President Barack Obama received 60 percent of the vote to John McCain's 35 percent. Nearly 40 percent of students declared the economy to be the biggest issue facing the country.

The mock election is a free resource offered by the UVA Center for Politics as an effort to engage students in the electoral process. Meg Heubeck, the director of the Youth Leadership Initiative at the UVA Center for Politics, believes youth participation in the democratic process is essential.

"The goal of the Youth Leadership Initiative is to involve students in the American electoral and policy-making process early," said Heubeck. "We want young people in the habit of participating in civic life. Voting in mock elections is one of the important keys to helping make that happen."

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