Sixty-seven of the thousands of K-12 students who participated in 2018 Promote the Vote activities were recognized at the Mississippi Capitol today for high achievement in the arts and writing.

Promote the Vote is Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s comprehensive K-12 voter education program.  This year’s program, which included a mock election and art and essay contests, asked students to contemplate how they may “Make a Difference in Mississippi” by voting and otherwise getting involved in their communities.

The art contest asked students to depict “Colors of My Community” by pretending they were an artist commissioned to draw a mural on a building in their hometown representing the place and people.  The essay contest, called “We Have Business to Do!,” called on entrants to choose one local industry and write an essay on how a business in that industry can provide community support by connecting with or supporting their school by using the Secretary of State’s Y’all Business website, www.yallbusiness.sos.ms.gov.

Seven artists across the State judged art entries, and nine journalists and professors judged essays.

“These students are our State’s future leaders.  Through Promote the Vote, we’re able to support the people on the ground—our educators—in their mission to teach these students about how critically important it is for them to vote and get involved in their communities,” Secretary Hosemann said.

For the first time in PTV’s decades-long history, 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.  Two schools won prizes: Pearl Upper Elementary and Carthage Christian Academy.

“I applaud the Secretary of State’s office for organizing this effort with schools emphasizing the importance of voting,” MPB Executive Director Ronnie Agnew said. “Reaching our children while they are still children will yield results in the future. Through this program, I hope that all of the participating partners have gotten the message across to our kids that voting is a right that we simply must exercise.”

Promote the Vote essay and art contest winners received $100 (First Place), $75 (Second Place), and $50 (Third Place) 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.  Additionally, winning art entries will be on display in Jackson State University’s Downtown Gallery, 101 W. Capitol Street, from March 6-May 31.

Free to participating schools, Promote the Vote began in 1996. This year, more than 320 schools and about 70,000 students participated in Promote the Vote activities.  The 2019 Promote the Vote program will kick off in August with a mock election for Governor and art and essay contests.

More information about Promote the Vote is available on the Secretary of State’s web site. A full list of winners is attached to this release, and photos of winners relevant to coverage area will be provided to media outlets.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann Press Release

2/21/2019