Area schools hold mock election

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldNovember 3, 2012 

More than 2,300 students from Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties voted in a mock election conducted by the Washington Secretary of State's office.

The students, ranging from kindergartners to high school seniors, cast votes on state measures, referendums and initiatives, as well as the presidential and gubernatorial races.

Students from the Kennewick, Richland and Pasco school districts took part, as well as other outlying districts, such as Prosser, Kiona-Benton City and Walla Walla.

Mid-Columbia students mostly followed statewide polling trends with their votes -- approving the creation of a public charter school system, legalizing same-sex marriage and choosing President Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

There were some differences, though.

Students statewide rejected an initiative decriminalizing marijuana, but a small majorities of students in Franklin and Walla Walla counties approved the initiative.

While most Washington students selected Democrat Jay Inslee to be governor, Republican Rob McKenna had the edge in Benton and Walla Walla counties.

State election officials said turnout statewide for the student event was more than double from the 18,000 who voted in the 2008 mock presidential election.

"It's important to promote civic engagement and informed future voters in our state, and the Mock Election is a great way to do that," Secretary of State Sam Reed said in a release.

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