School Students' Ballots Pouring In at 20,000 an Hour

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Kids Can Still Register at http://www.nationalmockelection.org And Cast Presidential Votes by October 30.

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Early voting is catching on with our Mock Election students just like it is with adults. With the kind of numbers we are seeing today, if everybody who is enrolled remembers to vote, we are on target to hit more than nine million young voters. That would more than double our 2004 participation.

Just like the more than one-third of Americans who are casting their ballots early, so, too, are voters in the National Student/Parent Mock Election flooding Mock Election headquarters with their Presidential choices days ahead of the October 30 deadline. More than 350,000 students have voted since the polls opened one week ago, and the ballots are pouring in at a rate of more than 20,000 an hour.

Mock Election President Gloria Kirshner said, "Early voting is catching on with our Mock Election students just like it is with adults. With the kind of numbers we are seeing today, if everybody who is enrolled remembers to vote, we are on target to hit more than nine million young voters. That would more than double our 2004 participation."

Louisiana, still rebounding from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, is one of the thousands of schools already casting ballots. "Early voting by students from across Louisiana has exceeded our expectations," said Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne. "We have over 1,000 schools participating and almost 50,000 votes already cast. If the adult enthusiasm is close to the students, this will be a banner year for voter passion and turnout."

Tabulating of ballots is being managed by the Wisconsin-based education survey research firm School Perceptions. President Bill Foster said, "Students from all 50 states as well as thousands of Americans living outside the US are casting their ballots online this year. Our latest count shows voting is heaviest in New Jersey (64,441); Louisiana (62,789); Florida (32,503); Georgia (15,347); Virginia (12,907); and New York (12,274). He added, "We're reminding the nine million who have registered with the Mock Election to be sure to send in their ballots by October 30."

In Arizona, headquarters of the National Student/Parent Mock Election, Kirshner said. "The Mock Election is absolutely nonpartisan and is aimed at educating future voters about the principles of democracy. We hope to help young Americans understand the importance of each and every vote."

Kirshner said the National Student/Parent Mock Election is working with 21 American Indian tribes in her state to dramatically increase the historical percentage of only 11 percent of 18-29 year-old Native Americans turning out to vote.

Brian Dowd, Mock Election coordinator at PS126 in New York City said, "Our school is a true American melting pot - with an equal enrollment of Asian, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian students. Our neighborhood voter registration and voter turn-out numbers are quite low. We are hopeful that the students' participation in the National Mock Election will motivate many adults to vote on November 4."

"Many of our schools registered to vote several weeks ago and we are now reminding them that it's important that they cast those individual ballots by October 30," said Kirshner.

She added that for the first time in the history of the Mock Election, two elementary, two middle schools and two high schools will receive a special award for highest participation levels -- a visit to their school of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, provided by the Declare Yourself youth voting organization with funding from The Pearson Foundation.

Kirshner attributes much of the early voting success to the thousands of Mock Election volunteers around the country and globally. The volunteers coodinating statewide campaigns range from the Alabama lawyer and PTA leader whose father won the court battle to allow Martin Luther King to lead the march from Selma to Montomery to Secretaries of State, newspapers and press associates, television stations, universities, State Departments of Education, the League of Women Voters, classroom teachers, and dedicated PTA leaders.

"The National Student/Parent Mock Election represents America at its best," said Kirshner.

About the National Student/Parent Mock Election:
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter-education project, dating from 1980. Since the first Mock Election in 1980, nearly 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen and the value of citizenship in our democracy. Every generation is invited to participate in the National Student/Parent Mock Election and to help "preserve and protect" our democracy. Partners for the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election include: USA Today, the Pearson Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, Declare Yourself, Strong American Schools, School Perceptions, Google, BrainPOP, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Student Councils, and the Council of the Great City Schools. The Election Assistance Commission and the Kaplan Foundation provide ongoing funding for the Mock Election. The collective contributions of all supporters help NSPME create a richer and more meaningful experience for students, parents and teachers. For more information, go to http://www.nationalmockelection.org

Contact: kate.miller @ pearson.com - 800-745-8489

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