Jackson, Miss.— Secretary of State Michael Watson honored the winners of the 2019 Promote the Vote program during an awards ceremony at the Mississippi Capitol today. Twenty-five students were recognized for their hard work and talent in front of classmates, friends, family, and government officials.
Promote the Vote is Secretary Watson’s comprehensive K-12 voter education program. This year’s “MY vote is MY voice” theme encouraged students to use their voice at the ballot box by voting in a mock election and participating in art and essay contests.
The art contest encouraged students to depict “Proud to be a Mississippian” through illustrations reflecting patriotism, civic responsibility and voter participation. The essay contest, titled “If I were Elected Governor, I Would…” encouraged participants to identify what they consider to be a top issue facing Mississippi over the next four years. Participants were then asked to write an essay outlining a proposal for how they would work with other elected officials to tackle that issue.
“I was amazed by the amount of detail and creativity displayed in all of the essay and artwork submissions, “said Secretary Michael Watson. “As Mississippi’s chief elections officer, it’s essential for our office to support programs that teach young people the importance of civic engagement and the power of one vote.”
Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s (MPB) Education arm partnered with the Secretary of State’s Office to encourage school, teacher, and student participation. MPB hosted a mock election precinct contest, and recognized schools and classrooms with festive election décor for their mock election. Kosciusko Upper Elementary was the winner of the Mock Election contest.
“The Secretary of State’s office should be commended for using innovative approaches to emphasize the importance of voting to our children,” said Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting. “Having students express themselves through art and essays is an excellent way to use the creative process to educate students about this important right. Together, we are building future voters. It’s great for Mississippi. It’s great for the country.”
This year, more than 200 schools participated in Promote the Vote activities. Promote the Vote essay and art contest winners received $100 (First Place), $75 (Second Place), and $50 (Third Place) checks provided by sponsor banks across the State, and free entry to the Mississippi Museum of History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Teachers also received $50 per winning entry to spend in their classrooms.
Visit the Secretary of State’s website (www.sos.ms.gov) for more information about the Promote the Vote program.