October 26, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chávez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393
jchavez@ped.state.nm.us

New Mexico’s Student Mock Election Will Take Place on October 28, 2004

(Santa Fe, NM)- The New Mexico Public Education Department, and the Secretary of State’s Office are teaming up in the schools to hold a mock election on Thursday, October 28th, 2004. This is the first National Student/Parent Mock Election held in New Mexico although the organization that organizes these elections, which is headquartered in New Jersey, has been facilitating mock elections in other states for over twenty years. The purpose of the Mock Election is to educate young voters and turn the sense of powerlessness that keeps young voters away from the polls into a feeling of ownership which will lead to greater participation once these students become eligible to vote. The organizers also hope the mock election will stimulate greater parental voter participation.

Teens from Santa Fe County Teen Court are using some of their community service hours to help the Secretary of State Office prepare for the election. Standard ballots were distributed to each of the one hundred ten schools registered for this election. This translates into thirty-one thousand students that will be casting their votes between now and October 28th. Each school will tally all of those votes and after 7 pm on Thursday October 28th, Valerie Vigil from the Secretary of State’s Office will report the final results for New Mexico to the National Headquarters in New Jersey. Valerie Vigil can be contacted at 476-0353. (or valerie.vigil@state.nm.us)

Several local officials have signed on as co-chairs of this event including: Governor Bill Richardson, Secretary of Education, Dr. Veronica García, Speaker of the House, Ben Lujan, Representative Earlene Roberts, Representative Jeannette Wallace, Chairman Allen Weh of the Republican Party of NM, President Sisto Abeyta of the Office of the Young Democrats, Representative Edward Sandoval and the Director of Teen Court of Santa Fe County, Alice Sealey.

In honor of the mock elections a special event will be held on Thursday, October 28th in the Rotunda at the Capitol from 8:30 am – 10:00 am. Capital High School band will play the National Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner. The following schools from the Santa Fe area have accepted the invitation to vote at the Rotunda: Agua Fria Elementary, Nava Elementary School, and the New Mexico Girl’s Ranch School. Each school will have two students speak about why they are voting for either Kerry or Bush. Agua Fria Elementary will have two students speak in English and two students speaking in Spanish. Secretary of State, Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Secretary Veronica García of the Public Education Department will speak to the students and teachers congratulating them for their participation and reminding them about the importance of voting.