Secretary of State
College Students Make Their Choices for Governor, Hundreds Register to Vote
(Frankfort, KY) If the election were held today, Kentucky students would elect a new governor, but by a much closer margin that current public polling in the Governor’s race has shown. 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% in the Kentucky Collegiate Mock Election. The election was sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State Trey Grayson as 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 Secretary Grayson. “We hope that this will begin a lifelong commitment to voting among these young people.”
The voter percentages for each candidate slate were as follows:
Ernie Fletcher/Robbie Rudolph (R) – 48.3%
Steven Beshear/Daniel Mongiardo (D) – 51.7%
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 at www.sos.ky.gov/mockelection.
Six universities participated in the mock election tour: Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, and Centre College. The Office of the Secretary of State partnered with the Student Government Associations on each campus to publicize the event. 785 students participated in the elections that began on October 1, 2007 and concluded on October 8, 2007. Beshear/Mongiardo won individual campus votes at Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Centre College. Fletcher/Rudolph won at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.
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.
“The general election falls on the heels of mid-terms and slightly before Thanksgiving break, and many young people may not be thinking about elections due to scholastic distractions,” stated Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “My hope is that in hosting mock elections, we will increase awareness of the elections and remind college-age students that their voices are important.”
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. The report, which details four principle recommendations and scores of additional recommendations, was developed from the work of the Kentucky Workgroup on Civic Literacy and the CLIK.
A focus of the report is increased technology in order to further engage students in the political process. Grayson’s office has an international award-winning website 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 Secretary Grayson.
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