Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office will conduct mock elections at approximately 40 suburban schools this month as part of its Teen Democracy Programs, a series of voter education initiative geared toward high school students.
Using actual voting equipment, thousands of students will cast ballots beginning Oct. 19 for the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot for the offices of U.S. President and Senate, Orr said.
“Conducting mock elections is a great opportunity for future voters to learn how to vote and become familiar with polling place procedures,” said Orr, whose office will tabulate the overall votes and announce the winners after the final ballots are cast.
The Clerk’s office supplies each class or school with election materials and instructs students how to administer the election and tally results. Many schools conduct an entire “campaign season” around the mock election that includes registering voters, distributing campaign literature, holding debates, and organizing get-out-the-vote efforts.
“The earlier young people take part in programs like this and learn the importance of voting, the more likely they will become regular voters throughout their lives,” said Orr, adding that only 36 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 nationwide voted in the 2000 presidential election.