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The VOTES Project
Every four years, NMH faculty and students lead a nationwide presidential mock-election project for high school students. VOTES (Voting Opportunities for Teens in Every State) involves between 50,000 and 60,000 students who learn about the candidates, campaign for their favorites, and cast mock ballots a few days before the actual presidential election.
Their choices have accurately predicted the real election's outcome in six of the past eight presidential contests. And the involvement prompted by VOTES has lasting effects for some students. VOTES students from NMH have gone on to careers in national politics, polling, candidate advocacy, and law.
The project, begun in 1988 by history teachers Jim Shea and Lorrie Byrom from NMH, includes teen voters from at least one public and one independent school in each state. For these young people, nearly all of whom will be eligible voters in the next presidential election, the project teaches the significance and the excitement of the democratic process.
In the months leading up to the election, students hear from political speakers, conduct mock debates and rallies, and anchor live-streamed "election-night" coverage as students' voting results from high schools across the country are revealed. Teen voter turnout across the nation for the VOTES Project is far higher than actual voter turnout, averaging 77 percent since 1988.