Mississippi Schools Encouraged to Put on Mock Elections for Secretary of State’s Promote the Vote Program
Mississippi schools are setting the stage for mock elections and a statewide competition in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s 2nd Annual Promote the Vote program, geared towards providing hands-on lessons for Mississippi students who will one day be voters themselves.
Last year, Pass Christian Elementary School participated in the program with a mock election where students registered to vote and casted their own ballots.
This year’s competition runs October 1-25, but is already under way with a new theme and implementation materials for teachers.
The theme for this year’s program is “MY vote is MY voice” and is designed to encourage students to use their voice at the ballot box by voting in the mock election and art and essay contests. For the second year, Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) is partnering with the Agency to promote participation from schools, teachers, and students.
“Our Promote the Vote program is an excellent way to teach our students about the importance of civic engagement,” stated Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Governance begins at the ballot box, and PTV supports the message to students that they have a voice, and every vote counts.”
“This is a very important election for Mississippi and its future,” said MPB’s Executive Director Ronnie Agnew. “It is my hope that through this program more citizens will be informed about the great privilege and freedom they have to elect their public officials. MPB is honored to partner with the Secretary of State’s office on this initiative. Together, we can lend our voices to educate Mississippians that they hold the power of our future in their hands when they exercise this right.”
The initial PTV event is a mock statewide election for Governor, which will be held between October 1-25, 2019. A downloadable ballot will be available to participating schools on October 1.
Once students vote for their candidate using the mock ballot, teachers or administrators should tally and transmit their classroom or school vote totals by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on October 25, 2019.
Additionally, MPB is hosting a contest for “Best Mock Election Precinct” as part of this year’s PTV program. One creative teacher who transforms his or her classroom into a festive election-themed “mock precinct” will win a grand prize courtesy of MPB. Teachers can participate in the competition by posting two (2) photos on social media (Facebook and/or Instagram) and tagging @MPBOnline (make sure your post is set for public viewing). The deadline for this contest is October 25.
In addition to the mock election, PTV offers art and essay contests, available for students in grades K-12 and 6-12, respectively. The art contest, called “Proud to be a Mississippian,” encourages entrants to express their patriotism and creativity by designing artwork depicting civic responsibility and voter participation. The essay contest, called “If I Were Elected Governor, I Would…” asks entrants to identify what they consider to be a top issue facing our State, write an essay describing the issue, and outline a proposal for how they would tackle the issue as Governor, working with other elected officials.
Art and essay entries will be accepted by the Secretary of State’s Office until December 6, 2019. Winners will receive an award and be eligible to participate in a ceremony in 2020 at the Mississippi State Capitol.
Downloadable PTV materials are available to participating schools and teachers at www.sos.ms.gov/PTV and include deadlines, rules for participation in the mock election and contests, easy-to-implement ideas for how to run a fun and successful mock election in the classroom, congressional district maps, elected officials worksheets, and contest entry forms, among other information.