Hold a Mock Election in your Program
(and contribute to state and regional tallies!)
The purpose of holding a mock election is to energize all eligible residents to vote and to give new voters practice in a simulated voting experience. The VERA website has the resources referenced below to make it easy. Just follow these steps:
- We want the mock election to be a rehearsal for the real thing! So start by making sure your students know how to register to vote. You can check your state’s registration deadlines here (the link right below the bulleted list of states) and show adults how to register easily online at rockthevote.org.
- To create a ballot, go to Ballotpedia and enter your local address. The ballot that comes up will have your candidates for President, Congress, Governor, and local districts, and will also have your state ballot questions. You can print out and use this as your ballot (or cut and paste the portions you want).
- Schedule your mock election over a day or two so that all classes have a chance to vote. Schedule the vote count at a time when the most students can observe.
- Create a private space for voting (even if it’s just desks with manilla folders creating a screen around the edges). Collect the ballots in a large sealed box. To add to the simulation, create check-in and check-out desks, where student election-workers check the voters against an alphabetized list of student names (explain that when they really vote they will give their name and address).
- Hold your election! To make it a more festive event, add activities such as student presentations (about their own voting experiences, what they’ve learned about voting/democracy, or why voting matters to them), offer refreshments, and have an information table where people can check the location of their polling place.
- At the most inclusive time you can find, open the box and have a public vote count! Record your numbers here ASAP so that we can create state and New England-wide tallies of how adult students voted. We are gathering information on national and statewide (senator, governor) races, and on ballot questions, but NOT on congressional district races.
- Use the tallies we send you (for your program, your state, and New England) to create a press release that lets your local media outlets know that adult students plan to vote! Here are three sample press releases from 2012.
- After the election, discuss how your local tallies compare to the state and national election results and why that is.