MAYVILLE - Eleven of the 18 Chautauqua County school districts will be participating in 2012 Mock Presidential elections this fall, announced Board of Elections Commissioners Brian C. Abram and Norman P. Green.
In partnership with the non-partisan Chautauqua County League of Women Voters, the mock election schedule kicked off at Forestville Middle and High Schools on Wednesday Sept. 26.
The remaining schedule of schools is Maple Grove High School, Oct. 3; Clymer High School, Oct. 4; Dunkirk High School, Oct. 5; Falconer High School, Oct. 10; Southwestern High School, Oct. 11; Sherman High School, Oct. 12; Jefferson Middle School in Jamestown, Oct. 17; Cassadaga Valley Middle and High School, Oct. 18; Frewsburg Elementary School, Oct. 19; all grades in Fredonia, Oct. 24; and Jamestown High School, Oct. 26.
Board of Elections and League of Women Voters will conduct mock presidential elections.
"We invited all county schools to take advantage of our in school mock presidential election program and we're excited that 11 schools are participating," Green said. "We are thrilled to be part of the electoral education process and happy to offer our young voters the opportunity to vote on the optical scan voting machines."
"We are the very first Board of Elections in New York State to offer this service to our schools," Abram said. "We are able to do this because our voting machine and ballot printing costs have dramatically decreased with the advent of optical scan balloting coupled with the county's in-house ballot printing."
"As just one of five counties out of 62 in New York State, we are able to print ballots for $0.15 each compared to pricing of $0.57 per ballot that 57 other counties in New York are currently paying to outside vendors," Green said. "Chautauqua County's ballots look and work like any other ballot in New York, but our taxpayers will be paying $50,000 less per year than what would have been paid using outside contract printers.
"Along with the fact that the county's optical scanner is programmed in house on a data disc compared to the labor intensive programming of the old lever voting machine, doing mock elections for schools is a piece of cake," Green said.
The Board of Elections is required by state law to do voter outreach programs and the school visitation for mock presidential voting is part of the county's compliance. Personnel to assist the student voters will be provided at no charge by the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters.
"The League of Women Voters welcomes the Board of Elections' effort to engage high school students in the political process through a mock election for president," League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County's voter service chair Minda Rae Amiran said. "We look forward to partnering with the Board to make it happen."