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Virginia Students To Conduct Nation’s Largest Internet Mock Election

September 5, 2000 -- -- Participation Available To Every K-12 Student in Virginia --

RICHMOND — Virginia Secretary of Education Wil Bryant and UVA Professor Larry J. Sabato announced a joint partnership today between UVA’s Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) and the Virginia Student/Parent Mock Election (VSPME) to conduct the largest student mock election in the Commonwealth’s history. Participation in the joint mock election program, known as the Virginia Youth Mock Election Coalition, is available to every K-12 student in Virginia.

Voting will begin on Monday, October 23, 2000. Polls will remain open through 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 2, 2000. The Youth Leadership Initiative has developed software that allows students to vote online using secure cyber-ballots that are specifically tailored to each student’s home voting location. Schools that do not choose to use the online ballots may vote using VSPME ballots also tailored to each student’s home voting location. For ballot security purposes, schools choosing to vote online must register their students to vote at www.youthleadership.net

All ballots, both electronic and paper, will include the races for President, U.S. Senate, local Congressional races and three issue questions developed for the Virginia Student Parent Mock Election by Gallup. Statewide results will be announced at a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday, November 2, 2000.

Under the direction of its founder, UVA Professor Larry J. Sabato, the University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies launched the national Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) as its signature program in 1998 to combat the rising tide of apathy and cynicism many Americans feel toward politics and government. Last year, the YLI program conducted the largest Internet-based mock election in the nation. Today YLI is offered nationally as a citizenship education program designed to involve students in the American political process. More information is available at www.youthleadership.net.

The Virginia Student/Parent Mock Election is the state affiliate of the National Student/Parent Mock Election. State coordinators for the VSPME are the Governor’s School for Government and International Studies and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education. Started in 1980 in 30 states, the NPSME has expanded and in the 1996 Presidential election had over 6 million young people and their parents voting in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and in 14 countries/territories abroad. More information is available at www.mockelection2000.net.

Both VSPME and YLI offer classroom resources that are specifically linked to the Virginia Standards of Learning to help students study the American electoral process and cast votes as informed voters. On October 4, 2000 VPSME and YLI will host the Youth Policy Forum with participating students from throughout Virginia in the House of Delegates Chamber at the State Capitol in Richmond. The Forum will supplement classroom lessons and assist students in understanding the issues in the upcoming election. Later that evening, at the Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, students will be invited to participate in a student-conducted debate with the Delegate Eric Cantor and Dr. Warren Stewart, candidates for the 7th Congressional District.

Contact: Ken Stroupe, (804) 243-8468

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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