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E-Vote: Kentucky Using Technology to Involve Students in Election Process

October 9, 2007 By

Kentucky's Secretary of State Trey Grayson sponsored the Kentucky Collegiate Mock Election for governor which ended yesterday. Former Lt. Governor Steve Beshear (D) and running mate State Senator Daniel Mongiardo bested Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) and running mate Cabinet Secretary Robbie Rudolph by 3.4 percent.

The election was part of the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK) and Kentucky Civics Month. "We were delighted that so many students took time out of their busy college schedules to participate in the mock election, register to vote, and learn more about absentee voting," remarked Grayson. "We hope that this will begin a lifelong commitment to voting among these young people."

This is the second of three such mock elections. The first was held at the campuses of the Governor's Scholars Program during July in which the candidates had a dead-even tie. The final mock election is for elementary, middle and high school students on November 1, 2007 as part of the Kentucky Student Mock Election hosted in conjunction with the University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Institute. Teachers can still register for the mock election.

A staff member for the Office of the Secretary of State was on hand at each university to demonstrate one of the state's common electronic voting machines, help first-time voters register in their home precincts, and answer questions about absentee voting. In addition, students from each campus were on hand to discuss candidate backgrounds and platforms with students.
Grayson directs the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky, a multi-year effort that will determine a strategy for enhancing long-term civic engagement and civic literacy within the Commonwealth. As part of that effort, he released a report, Rediscovering Democracy: An Agenda for Action, that calls upon the state to take tangible steps to increase civic literacy. A focus of the report is increased technology in order to further engage students in the political process. Grayson's office has an award-winning Web site with increased online election services so that information is readily available for Kentucky citizens 24 hours-a-day/7 days-a-week. Grayson is also a pioneer in using popular mediums such as Facebook to make the political system more approachable to young people. During the 2006 election cycle, he created a national Facebook group to remind students to register to vote, request absentee ballots, and to turn out to vote on Election Day.
"By involving students in the democratic process, we wish to not only energize young people to vote, but to also remind their family and friends about the importance of voting on November 6, 2007," said Grayson.

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