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By Julian Peeples

As they witness the outcome of widespread voter apathy, thousands of California students took the first steps toward civic engagement, researching issues and casting their own “votes” last week in the California Student Mock Election.

Students from 181 schools statewide cast 43,294 votes in the mock election, researching and voicing their opinions on U.S. President and the 12 statewide measures on the Nov. 3 ballot. The California Secretary of State’s office provided schools with mock election ballots, voter information guides and posters to promote voting.

“Our Student Mock Election is preparing young Californians across the state to become active voters,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Even though most students will not be old enough to cast a ballot this November, they can still gain valuable experience researching candidates and discussing ballot propositions with their peers and teachers.”

The results showed overwhelming support for Proposition 15, the Schools and Communities First initiative, with nearly 75 percent approval. Prop. 16, which would help create opportunity for all, received 65 percent approval from students. Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden also enjoyed a wide margin among students, garnering nearly 68 percent to 17.9 percent for incumbent Donald Trump.

Padilla said the mock election is a fun, hands-on way to help young people familiarize themselves with the democratic process.

“The Secretary of State’s office has been proud to work with educators and elections officials across the state to prepare the next generation of Californians to become regular participants in our democracy,” he said.