Before We Vote, The Students Get to Vote

In 1988 Northfield Mount Hermon, my alma mater, started the VOTES project, a nationwide mock election that takes place at more than 130 high schools – at least one public and one private in all 50 states plus Washington D.C.. More than 60,000 students participated in the last election, and VOTES has correctly predicted the winner of every election but one since VOTES was created nearly 20 years ago!

The way it works is, each school holds its own election during the week before the actual election, then sends us the results. On Sunday, Nov. 4, we hold a gala event with students, teachers, parents and alums; we recreate a TV news set where students play commentators and news anchors who reveal one-by-one the results from each state. Other students then put a red or blue pin on a map of the U.S. and tally the electoral votes.

Now, before the vote happens, all 133 schools pick students to represent each presidential candidate, who actually campaign throughout the school and represent each candidate’s official positions.

At Northfield Mount Hermon, for example, they are holding a debate on Oct. 31, the night before NMH’s mock election. Many of the other schools across the country are also holding debates, rallies, and other campaign-related events.

The public is invited to come to campus for the debate on Oct. 31 – or on Nov. 4 when we stage our mock election night and reveal the winner. This may be a way to predict the outcome in the real election!