More than 5 Million Young People Cast Ballots in World’s Largest National Mock Election
12 November 2008
America’s Students Rank the Economy and Iraq War as Top Priorities for President-elect Obama Select George Washington as Favorite Past President
Tucson, Arizona - November 12 - As the last counts from states trickled in and the final votes were tallied today, more than five million ballots had been cast in the National Student/Parent Mock Election. Senator Barack Obama emerged as the presidential choice of the nation's student ‘voters’. President-elect Obama received 67% of the vote and Senator John McCain 29%.
America’s young people identified the troubled economy, the war in Iraq, and global climate change/the environment - in that order - as the top priorities for the Obama administration, with other ballot issues ranking as follows: national security, high cost of energy, education, health care, and the war in Afghanistan.
Explaining his issue vote, Daniel, an eighth grader, said “I chose the economy because right now we are hearing about this national crisis. Personally, I’m not sure if either candidate can solve it.”
Third grader Kevin said, “I chose the war in Iraq because I care about the people in the military. I want them to have a good life and not be in the war.”
As far as how the new government should allocate taxpayer money, students ranked spending priorities somewhat differently: the economy was number one, followed by cost and quality of health care, education, the environment, Iraq war, energy, and national security.
By a three percent margin young ‘voters’ chose George Washington over Abraham Lincoln as their favorite past President, with John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton ranking a distant third and fourth.
Twelve-year-old 'voter' Blaise said he picked Abraham Lincoln as his favorite President because “He was such a great person. He freed the slaves and was assassinated. America should be grateful to have him a second time. He can help us again like he did so many years ago.”
Thomas Taylor Soiles, a middle school student from Virginia, chose a past President most students did not mention. “Well, I am not 100 percent sure of this but if I could elect someone from the past it would be James K. Polk,” he said. “Of course, I would have to see what his political views on the economy were and a number of other things. I would re-elect him because he was the only president to do everything he said he would do. He was an outsider, dark horse, who did wonderful things for our country. He also did not seek a second term.”
Thousands of schools across the country and throughout the world voted in the Mock Election over a two-week period that included student debates, election reenactments, rallies, and a myriad of other innovative activities centered around the democratic process and the importance of the right to vote.
Mock Election President Gloria Kirshner said, “Thanks to the creative ideas of America’s teachers in over 15,000 schools - which translates to almost 20 percent of the student body in the U.S. and in American schools all around the world - the future of our American democracy will be in good hands.” She noted that internet voting played a huge role in the success of this year’s Mock Election with as many as 60,000 votes an hour coming in at the height of the voting.
Kirshner added, “The total number of votes in the National Student/Parent Mock Election exceeded the population of 30 states in the U.S. Thanks to the help of our incredible partners, and the tens of thousands of volunteers who care about passing the torch, the National Student/Parent Mock Election remains the nation’s oldest, largest and most successful voter education project.”
“President of the National PTA Jan Harp Domene said, “Our PTA volunteers have been working right alongside our country's educators to promote the Mock Election since the beginning of the school year. The PTA and our more than five million volunteers nationwide are privileged to play a part in helping make this election a real learning experience for students.”
In addition to President and the critical issues facing the new Administration, students voted their choices for Governors, the Senate, and House of Representatives. To view details on all ballot results, go to www.nationalmockelection.org.
Kirshner said, “I hope our teachers will look at the children in front of them now and ask themselves whether young Barack Obama’s teachers, or young Sarah Palin’s, saw the potential in them to become President or Vice President. Any child in America might grow up to be President from this day forward.”
Kirshner emphasized that the National Student/Parent Mock Election is not a scientific poll, adding, “The purpose of the National Student/Parent Mock Election is to turn the sense of powerlessness that has kept young Americans, and their parents, from going to the polls into the sense of the power of participation in our democracy.”
Kirshner said, “I think the success of the Mock Election can be summed up in this memorable quote from Thomas Jefferson, ‘Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.’”
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About the National Student/Parent Mock Election
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter-education project, dating from 1980. Since the first Mock Election in 1980, over 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen and the value of citizenship in our democracy. Every generation is invited to participate in the National Student/Parent Mock Election and to help “preserve and protect” our democracy. Partners for the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election include: USA Today, the Pearson Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, Declare Yourself, Strong American Schools, School Perceptions, Google, BrainPOP, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Student Councils, and the Council of the Great City Schools. The Election Assistance Commission and the Kaplan Foundation provide ongoing funding for the Mock Election. The collective contributions of all supporters help NSPME create a richer and more meaningful experience for students, parents and teachers. For more information, go to www.nationalmockelection.org
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