As Washington voters ponder and return their General Election ballots by the Nov. 7 deadline, thousands of K-12 students soon will have their own opportunity to experience voting by participating in the annual Washington State Mock Election.
The Mock Election starts Oct. 30 at 9 a.m. and ends Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. It is free and open to all Washington K-12 students who attend public, private or tribal schools or are homeschooled.
Now in its 13th year, the Mock Election lets students “vote” for real candidates and measures. Sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State’s Elections Division, the Mock Election is a nonpartisan educational program that teaches students to be informed, civic-minded voters.
Students who vote by going to the Mock Election website will receive free “I Voted!” stickers from their teachers.
“I look forward to seeing the results of the Mock Election every year. It is a fun and worthwhile program that introduces students to voting and shows them why it matters,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer. “My goal is for all Washington students to graduate with the skills to fully engage in our democracy. Voting is a key part of that.”
This year, Washington students will weigh in on the three advisory votes found on the statewide ballot, asking if three bills passed by the Legislature that imposed or raised taxes should be approved or repealed:
· Advisory Vote No. 16 (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1597, which increased the food fish excise tax rate on certain salmon and game fish.)
· Advisory Vote No. 17 (Engrossed House Bill 2163, which expanded the business and occupation tax and narrowed certain retail sales and use tax exemptions.)
· Advisory Vote No. 18 (Engrossed House Bill 2242, which imposed an additional state property tax for common schools.)
Students in King County also will be voting on the countywide Vets and Human Services measure, and students in Seattle will vote on the Seattle mayor’s race between Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.
The Mock Election occurs a week before the end of the General Election, and is sometimes an accurate glimpse of how adults may vote. For instance, in 2016 about 57 percent of student voters chose incumbent Jay Inslee for governor, while roughly 54 percent of adult voters also picked Inslee.
Results for this year’s Mock Election will be posted online on the Elections Division webpage soon after the election ends on Nov. 3. Results will be for the entire state and by school.
Teachers participating in the Mock Election are provided with voters’ pamphlets and sample ballots, as well as a recently updated curriculum book, Teaching Elections in Washington State.
For more information about the Mock Election or to reach out to local teachers whose classes are participating, contact Jackie Wheeler in the Elections Division at 360-902-4143 or [email protected].
Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documenting extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.