National Student/Parent Mock Election Expands Voting Access to Young People Nationwide With Pioneering Online Initiative -- Partnership with American Online Further Extends Reach and Impact of Nation’s Largest and Most Successful Voter Education Project

The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME), the nationÂ?s largest, longest running and most effective voter education project, has partnered with America Online, Inc., the worldÂ?s leading interactive services company, to bolster the online voting capacity of NSPME and allow parents and students to, for the first time, work closely together in their homes to learn the value and workings of our nationÂ?s democratic process.

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(PRWEB) September 21, 2002

Tucson, AZ — The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME), the nation’s largest, longest running and most effective voter education project, has partnered with America Online, Inc., the world’s leading interactive services company, to bolster the online voting capacity of NSPME and allow parents and students to, for the first time, work closely together in their homes to learn the value and workings of our nation’s democratic process.

The AOL@SCHOOL program, AOL’s free online learning service, along with AOL’s GovernmentGuide resource for students and their parents provides direct access to an abundance of pertinent information and facilitates participation in NSPME by American students, teachers and parents through links from AOL@SCHOOL and AOL’s other election-related resources. The partnership will make it possible for even more young people to participate in the NSPME as part of their school enrollment program or as individuals voting from home.

The NSPME seeks to transform the sense of powerlessness that keeps young Americans and their parents from going to the polls into a sense of enthusiasm to actively participate in our democracy. Participation in the Mock Election takes young people out of the classroom and into the real world, increasing their sense of significance and self-esteem. More than 40 million students and parents have voted since the National Student/Parent Mock Election began in 1980.

The next NSPME will take place November 1, 2002 in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and 14 countries/territories around the world where Americans are based. There is never a charge to participate.

“With this new partnership with AOL@SCHOOL, we are pioneering new uses of the online medium to help engage more and more Americans in the electoral process,” declared NSPME President Gloria Kirshner.

“We believe the online medium can be used to strengthen democracy and we’re pleased to be working with the country’s preeminent voter education program for young people and their parents on this effort,” stated Mark Nixon, General Manager of AOL@SCHOOL.

“America has the lowest rate of voter participation of any of the world's democracies,” explained Kirshner. “Voter apathy will lead to the loss of the freedom Americans cherish. We’ve been fighting this lethargy, at the front lines, longer than any other voter education program, and the results are encouraging — more votes were cast online in the 2000 Mock Election than had ever before been cast in history.”

“We will provide electronic ballots for all 50 states, Washington, DC and countries and territories where Americans are based,” added James Vaughn, Director of AOL’s E-Government & Politics. “Students will be able to vote for Governors, Senators, and Representatives, as well as on issues of most concern to the electorate.”

Free Mock Election curriculum materials for all grade levels, including a teachers’ guide and background information on the candidates, is available through AOL’s GovernmentGuide Web site (http://www.governmentguide.com) and on the National Student/Parent Mock Election Web site (http://www.nationalmockelection.com). GovernmentGuide also offers access to thousands of online federal, state and local government services and resources.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization run by a national network of volunteer state and school district coordinators. The NSPME makes students and parents aware of the power of their ballot by actively involving them in full-fledged national campaigns and elections.

AOL@SCHOOL is a free online learning service that America Online launched in May 2000. Designed to help schools make the interactive medium a more effective part of the classroom experience, AOL@SCHOOL provides safe, age-appropriate learning portals with leading online educational materials. The service offers AOL’s unique safety controls to protect kids from inappropriate content, optional features such as e-mail and instant messaging for older students and special resource portals for teachers and school administrators.

School districts can enroll in the Mock Election by visiting any of the following Web sites:

school.aol.com

http://www.governmentguide.com
http://www.nationalmockelection.com

Enrollment requests may also be mailed to the National Student/Parent Mock Election, P.O. Box 36653, Tucson, AZ 85704 or faxed to 520-742-3553. There is no charge to participate.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election is the first voter education project endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State. The NSPME enjoys the support of more than 50 national civic, educational, business and religious organizations, including the National Council for the Social Studies. For more information, please visit us at http://www.nationalmockelection.com.


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