The California Student Mock Election began in 2004 during the build-up to the 2004 Presidential General Election. During this first mock election, California students had the opportunity to make their voices heard in contests for President of the United States, United States Senator, and three ballot propositions.
In 2008, more than 275,000 students cast ballots in the California Student Mock Presidential Election in an impressive display of student opinion on the candidates and issues affecting the future of our state and nation. Building on this historic groundswell of interest in voting among young people across the country, the California Student Mock Election team began reaching out to an even wider array of education stakeholders, representing students, teachers, school librarians, parents, and administrators. All played a vital role in spreading the word about the 2010 Student Mock Election as a valuable resource teachers could draw from to make democracy come alive for their students and set them on the path to becoming lifelong voters.
The California Student Mock Election has continued every two years in advance of each November general election. Students have cast mock election votes in races for President, Governor of California, and U.S. Senator, and weighed in on high-profile issues such as criminal justice reform, same-sex marriage rights, marijuana legalization, environmental protection, and rent control.
In 2020, schools faced new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Student Mock Election adapted for the new reality of distance learning and provided two remote, electronic options for voting to allow schools to conduct voting with their students who were learning from home. With these remote voting tools, many students were still able to make their voices heard during this historic time and historic Presidential Election.