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For immediate release: Contact: Ben Kiser
October 30, 2002 402-471-8675

Students Will Cast Votes this Week in Mock Election
Student Vote an Important Civics Lesson for Nebraska Students

Lincoln - Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale announced that Nebraska schools are now casting their votes in this year’s student mock elections, called Nebraska Student Vote. Students from over 500 schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, will be voting and reporting their results to the Secretary of State’s office Monday, October 28 through Friday, November 1.

Nebraska Student Vote is a project of the Nebraska Secretary of State and the Omaha World-Herald. Beginning in 1996, Nebraska Student Vote has continued to grow each election year with 88,000 students voting in the mock election in the 2000 election cycle, including those that participated in a similar program run by the Lincoln radio station KFOR for schools in the Capital City. The curriculum and mock election teaches students some of the basic fundamentals of government and gives them experience in voting. It also increases student understanding of the importance of being involved in a democracy.

"Our goal is simple, but challenging," said Secretary Gale. "Programs, like Nebraska Student Vote, can help reverse the disturbing trend of increasing voter apathy. By helping young Nebraskans learn the importance of voting, we hope to foster their commitment to be active citizens and life-long voters."

Teachers are provided with a complete curriculum that incorporates discussions and lessons that can be adapted to any grade level, including an addendum that aligns the Student Vote materials to the state standards. Each student has received a special newspaper or voter guide giving the candidates’ position on issues. Additionally, each Wednesday, starting October 16th and running through the election, students will receive a copy of the Omaha World-Herald. Finally, students cast their informed votes in a mock election during the week of October 28 through November 1 with the Secretary of State announcing the results statewide and to the nation on November 1. This year students will vote on the races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor and any local issue of their choice.

"Student Vote is a valuable civics lesson about the importance of voting, political decision making, and being informed on current issues," said Secretary Gale. "In addition, students who participate in the program typically engage their parents in discussions about the upcoming elections which will encourage them to be active voters."

Secretary Gale said, "This terrific program can create excitement about the election process for students, teachers and parents. It will make a difference."

Results from the Student Vote mock election will be released on Friday afternoon and will be available on the Secretary of State’s website