Jackson Northwest Middle School students holds mock elections

September 28, 2017 in Education

The Mississippi Link Newswire,

Student receives instruction from Hinds Co. Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace.

Student receives instruction from Hinds Co. Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace.

Last week District 2 Hinds County Election Commissioner Toni Johnson held mock elections for 7th and 8th grade students at Northwest Middle School in Jackson.

Johnson believes that as an elected official that deals directly with voting, it’s her responsibity to educate and train the next generation of voters.

The idea bloomed from several conversations with the school’s principal, neighborhood leaders and other community organizers. “We have to cultivate an environment that promotes the importance of voting in every election,” said Johnson. “My objective was to expose and inform students early on about how to vote and use the equipment.”

Approximately 252 students had the opportunity to be briefed on voter registration by Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace, followed by casting a Mississippi Favorites ballot which listed artist, musicians, writers and some favorite foods that are traditions in our state.

Johnson explained to students how to use an electronic poll book, then with the help of Commissioners Yvonne Robinson Horton (District 4) and Commissioner James A. Reed (District 1), walked students through the process of completing and then casting their actual ballot on a DS200 voting machine. These are the actual machines used during elections in Hinds County.

Students were very excited to scan ballots themselves. After the students cast their ballots, each were given a sticker that said “Salute Me I Voted.” Results from the students’ mock election will be displayed to students next week.

At the end, students were encouraged to stay engaged in the voting process and register to vote when of legal age, and to tell family and friends about their experience.

Johnson plans to tour several other middle and high schools in the JPS Dstrict this year.