Election season has come to Washington state and for high schools, the mock elections allowed students to participate and educate themselves in the political climate on Nov. 5, 2019. As a way to help them understand their community further through the voting process, students were given a ballot to fill out during their contemporary/national world issues class to vote on referenda and initiatives.
New history teacher Alexandra Baker is one of the teachers who organized the mock elections this year. Seniors studied the referenda and initiatives featured in this year’s ballot for the mock elections. Afterwards, they had to present their findings to their classes.
“I think democracy at its core is about people feeling empowered, and so in my class, I want my students to do what we do in a democracy,” Baker said. “Any verb associated with democracy I want my students to do in class and actually feel what it’s like to exercise their power.”
In the 2019 mock elections, students were to vote on referenda and initiatives: Referendum Measure No. 88, Initiative Measure No. 976 and Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200. Referendum Measure No. 88 would enact Initiative 1000, sanctioning the use of affirmative action in hiring practices and public schools. This would repeal Initiative 200, which banned affirmative action in 1998. Initiative Measure No. 976 limits car tabs to $30 and repeals certain vehicle taxes. Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200 amends the Washington state constitution, allowing the government to have more executive power during times of catastrophic events.
Senior Brennan English-Birge said, “It’s [a] good experience to actually know what some of the things that we’re actually voting on. I will be voting in the next presidential elections — 2020, that’s pretty nice.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for the November 2018 Midterm Election, the largest increase in voters came from the 18-to-29-year-old age group where the voter turnout was 36 percent, a 79 percentage point increase from 2014. With the 2020 Presidential Election coming soon, U.S. citizens can choose to vote, an important time for presidential candidates and citizens alike.
“Next year, I think I want to include students from all grades to be able to vote in the mock elections,” Baker said. “I really value democracy and want to share that at Inglemoor.”