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High school teachers: First Vote NC offers free curriculum and local election simulation

Are you planning on voting in your local elections this fall? If you are under the age of 30, the answer is probably no. In the 2014 midterm elections, just 19.9 percent of 18-to-29 year old citizens voted, and the turnout for local elections is even worse. 

First Vote NC aims to change the state of young voters in North Carolina. First Vote NC’s mission is to engage young people in the democratic process by conducting simulation elections in high schools across North Carolina. 

In the 2016 elections, more than 32,000 high school students in 46 North Carolina counties voted in mock elections. While the national elections may garner the most attention, local elections are a crucial part of our democracy and fundamentally affect our daily lives, which is why First Vote NC is back this year with a free 2017 local election package. 

How it works

Once teachers register for First Vote, they can access free lesson plans developed by Carolina K12 and aligned with NC standards. Civics teachers can use these lessons to help students understand how their local and state governments work and why it is so important to vote in these elections.

Teachers can then look at their local election ballot and customize it to include additional local issue questions. For example, the school could use it to gauge student opinions on local issues or to better understand their school climate. 

Starting with early voting on October 24, students can then use the online ballots customized by their teachers to vote on local candidates and local issue questions. The ballots look identical to the ballots used at the local precinct, so students will learn how to read and mark the ballot correctly. 

After election day, school’s may analyze their results with First Vote NC’s interactive data platform. Check out how high schools across North Carolina voted in the 2016 election.

Visit First Vote NC to see the lesson plans, learn more about First Vote NC, and sign up! 

 

 

Molly Osborne

Molly Osborne is the director of policy for EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.