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    Mock Elections In Ballard HS Classes Recap
    Posted on 10/06/2018
    Image of BHS Students voting

    Seattle Public Schools posting on the SPS Website about Ballard HS Mock Elections.  Posted 11/9/2018

    Voter turnout across Washington state in the recent mid-term elections were at a record high: 51.26 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. On the same day, students at Ballard High School were casting their votes in a mock election. Voter turnout at Ballard’s mock elections came in at 63.9 percent. More than 1,270 students turned in paper ballots, and 837 students voted on Schoology, an online learning platform used across the district.

    Though called mock elections, students were fully immersed in a realistic voter experience leading up to election day. Students created voter pamphlets; learned about initiatives on the Seattle ballot; informed their fellow students on initiatives; and cast their votes on candidates and measures.

    Distinguished guests were present throughout the day to show their support for students and spoke to students on why voting is a critical civic duty. Director Eden Mack, Representative Reuven Carlyle, Representative Gael Tarleton, Representative Noel Frame, Kathleen Vasquez (literacy and social studies program manager), and Mary Montague (literacy curriculum specialist) applauded students for their engagement and civic participation.

    Students walk to the ballot box at Ballard High School mock election“We [the youth] are the future,” said Isabella, a Ballard sophomore. “It’s important that youth know the importance of voting and participate once they’re ready to vote at 18 years old.”

    Andy, a senior emphasized that the process of voting begins with informing oneself about the measures on the ballot. He shared that the student-created voter pamphlets are made to educate the student body on initiatives. “Before students drop their ballots in the box, we hope that the available resources [voter pamphlet and student-produced videos] have been helpful in informing them on both sides of an issue.”

    In addition to creating voter pamphlets, ninth grade students created videos further informing voters on what it means to vote yes or no on initiatives.

    Webster Hutchins, ELA teacher, “It was a great and memorable experience for all who participated, students and teachers alike. They loved the entire process … from learning about the initiatives and interviewing their parents, to making pro/con videos, civics discourse, voting itself, and to discussing the results in a statewide context afterwards. They are becoming sophisticated citizens!”

    Eighty-nine percent of students polled answered yes to a question that asked: “Do you think participating in this mock election will make you more likely and ready to vote in real elections when you turn 18?”

    Hutchins added that “By engaging all youth in the study of electoral politics through participation in annual mock elections each fall… [this] helps them grow into voters when they turn 18.”

    Seattle Public Schools is committed to preparing students for life and community beyond high school. At the center of the district’s commitment is a focus on youth voices and youth participation. The mock elections at Ballard are one example of the district’s initiatives in promoting youth engagement rooted in civic education.

    Watch the the below videos produced by the students on initiatives on YouTube and Vimeo by selecting the YES or NO for each initiative. 

    Initiative 940 Washington Initiative 940, Police Training and Criminal Liability in Cases of Deadly Force Measure (2018)

    Initiative 1631 Washington Initiative 1631, Carbon Emissions Fee Measure (2018)

    Initiative 1634 Washington Initiative 1634, Prohibit Local Taxes on Groceries Measure (2018)

    Initiative 1639 Washington Initiative 1639, Changes to Gun Ownership and Purchase Requirements Measure (2018)