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JPS Students Learn Voting Rights, Responsibilities in Mock Elections

October 26, 2018

Callaway student casts ballot
Callaway student casts ballot during a mock election day held at the school on October 24.

JPS high school students recently participated in districtwide mock elections.

Youth Ambassadors of the Jackson Council of the PTA/PTSA (JCPTA) hosted a mock election at Callaway High School on October 23. Students assumed all of the roles related to conducting the election. They served as precinct managers, poll workers, signature clerks and bailiffs as they led the process for the school's students in grades 9–12.

The goal of the initiative was to help students feel comfortable with voting and realize it is their right and responsibility. The project was a collaboration between the school's administration, faculty, students, and parent volunteers. The experience was integrated into social studies classes led by teacher Dr. Brian Grizzell.

"Hopefully, repetitively exposing students to voting beginning in the ninth grade will give students the information to take voting seriously and to participate in the voting process," said Michelle Henry, a Callaway parent and JCPTA officer.

Ballots included candidates for both U.S. Senate seats and the U.S. House seat relevant to the students' voting districts. A bonus item, just for the mock election ballots, asked the voters to identify their favorite college or university in the state.

The JPS voter education and registration drive was made possible through a partnership with JPS, JCPTA, the Hinds County Election Commission, Hinds County Circuit Clerk, NAACP Jackson Branch, the League of Women Voters of Jackson, Jackson (MS) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and One Voice.

Several JPS middle and elementary schools also held mock elections as part of the statewide initiative, Promote the Vote. Sponsored by the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office, this program is a K-12 voter education program designed to encourage voter responsibility and promote civic engagement. Teacher guides, elected officials worksheets, and congressional district maps were made available online to schools that registered.

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