Students lead a “mock voting” experience at Salem Hills High on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Sydney Ward, junior at Salem Hills High in Nebo School District, headed up a project called “Mock Voting.”

For the past three years, since Sydney was a freshman, she participated in and helped carry out “Mock Voting” experiences, where students who are not old enough to complete an official ballot can become informed on current ballot measures, cast their vote on a mock ballot, and receive an “I Voted” sticker.

To encourage students to become politically informed, Sydney Ward created a website with current candidate information and 2018 ballot measures. Sydney posted QR codes for the website around the school to encourage students to become informed on current issues. Items on the mock ballot included candidates for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, Question 1, Proposition 2, and the Nebo Bond.

Becoming informed is so important, according to Brinlie Benson, a friend of Sydney’s who volunteered to help with the project. Brinlie commented, “I like to think that people can inspire change. And that is one way to do it: be informed.”

Bryn Riley, Junior at Salem Hills High who helped with the mock voting, said the teachers and students responded positively to the mock election. “The teachers definitely want their students to be a part of it, and the kids are excited to come and be a part of it,” she said. “We all have a voice that should be heard, and taking action to let that voice be heard is important.”

Sydney Ward said, “I hope that students realize that their voices do matter and that they have power to make things happen in this country. As you talk to people, you can explore different ways to look at the issues and become more grounded in your opinions and make real change.”

Sydney concluded, “Even though it is a mock election, I think it is still super valuable to realize that your opinion on issues makes an impact.”