Hattiesburg, Miss. (Fox 23)-
Jackson, Miss. — Promote the Vote (PTV), the Secretary of State’s comprehensive K-12 voter education program, launches this week with a new theme, partner, and implementation materials for teachers.
This year’s program, which will include a mock election and art and essay contests, asks students to contemplate how they may “Make a Difference in Mississippi” by voting and otherwise getting involved in their communities. For the first time in PTV’s decades-long history, Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s (MPB) Education arm will partner with the Agency to encourage school, teacher, and student participation.
“We are seeing historically low turnout at the ballot box, so it is more important than ever to teach our children about the importance of civic engagement and how every vote counts,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “Participating in PTV is a fun, manageable way for busy teachers to talk about our elections process in the classroom.”
“The PTV initiative fits in well with MPB’s mission, which is to make Mississippi better,” said MPB’s Executive Director Ronnie Agnew. “Secretary Hosemann’s office and MPB share the belief that we have a responsibility to encourage citizens to exercise their right to vote, and there is no better place to start than with our children. MPB will use the power of its statewide broadcasting radio and television infrastructure to assist the Secretary of State’s Office in engaging, educating and informing the children we hope to reach with this much-needed program.”
The pinnacle PTV event is a mock election for both U.S. Senate races and the U.S. House race pertinent to each school’s district, which will be held between October 1-26, 2018. A downloadable ballot will be available to participating schools on October 1.
Once students vote for their candidates using the mock ballot, teachers or administrators should tally and transmit their classroom or school vote totals by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on October 26, 2018. Results of the Promote the Vote mock election will be available in November.
Aside from the mock election, PTV offers art and essay contests, available for students in grades K-12 and 6-12, respectively. The art contest, called “Colors of My Community,” prompts entrants to pretend they are an artist commissioned to draw a mural on a building in their hometown representing the place and people. The essay contest, called “We Have Business to Do!,” calls on students to focus on the business economy in the local community by using the Secretary of State’s Y’all Business website, www.yallbusiness.sos.ms.gov.
Art and essay entries will be accepted by the Secretary of State’s Office until December 7, 2018. Winners will receive an award from local banks and be eligible to participate in a ceremony in February 2019 at the Mississippi State Capitol.
Downloadable PTV materials are available to participating schools and teachers at www.sos.ms.gov/PTV and include deadlines, rules for participation in the mock election and contests, easy-to-implement ideas for how to run a fun and successful mock election in the classroom, congressional district maps, elected officials worksheets, and contest entry forms, among other information.