Close to 18,000 Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students have the opportunity to participate in this fall’s national election through R-7 Votes. Students from kindergarten through 12th grade will learn about the election process and the importance of voting while participating in a district-wide mock election on Nov. 2. The actual nation-wide election day is Nov. 8, and students will be casting their ballots close to a week in advance.

R-7 Votes was initiated in November 2008 and is held every four years. Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members developed the program specifically for the local schools.

Students’ lessons through R-7 Votes are tailored to fit their grade level. R-7 Votes is a non-partisan effort and does not endorse any candidate or issue.

Students will vote online on Nov. 2 with election results available by that evening and announced at schools the next day. Students in kindergarten through third grade will vote for president, and students in fourth through sixth grades will vote for president and governor. Students seventh grade and older will vote for all items on the official ballot including national, state, county and local issues.

A focus of the program is to help students learn about the importance of good citizenship and being a well-informed voter. Depending on students’ grade levels, R-7 Votes will cover topics such as voter registration, primaries, precincts and voting jurisdictions, political parties and the Electoral College. By participating in the mock elections, students will also be encouraged to develop lifelong voting habits.

R-7 officials believe that R-7 Votes is one of the largest mock elections taking place in Missouri. It is also unique among mock elections because the older students vote on a number of local issues as well as national and state issues.