Lowry urges young people to get politically involved

OLYMPIA - Urging young people to get involved in politics, Gov. Mike Lowry today kicked off the 1996 student "mock" election in Washington state.

"Mock elections are an excellent tool for encouraging students to get involved in the community," Lowry said. "They encourage students to study the candidates and debate the issues, which is critical to maintaining a healthy democracy."

School children from across the state will vote for their presidential, gubernatorial and congressional choices on Oct. 30 in a "mock election". The Secretary of State's office will tally the votes and forward them to CNN television for a national tally.

In preparation for the vote, students are reading election material, learning about candidates and preparing themselves for their first vote.

In 1992, students foreshadowed the victories of both Bill Clinton and Mike Lowry in the presidential and gubernatorial election.

Lowry noted that early involvement in the political process is a crucial element to increasing the number of young people who vote. In the 1992 presidential election, only 20 percent of adults under age 30 voted.

"Student elections are a valuable teaching tool that focus attention on issues of statewide concern," Lowry said. "They encourage students to get involved in the community and make civic participation a habit that starts early and lasts a lifetime. We're hoping to get young people equipped to participate in the political process."

Joining Lowry at the kick off was Superintendent of Public Instruction Judith Billings; Kyle Schei, a student at Bainbridge Island High School; and Carina Price of Lakes High School in Tacoma.

The student election is sponsored by the Washington state League of Women Voters.

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office, 360-753-6790.