Election Rehearsal Policy Order

I am going to present a Policy Order to request that an Election Rehearsal at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School take place before each City Council election. These rehearsals would be run by the Election Commission, and the participants would be high school students. I believe that this would be a simple way to both preempt logistical issues and invest young voters in local politics.

WHEREAS: Youth voter turnout has decreased in recent decades, as documented by groups such as CIRCLE at Tufts University; and


WHEREAS: Cambridge’s November 19th, 2014 Strategic Recommendations for a Citywide Plan acknowledges that, “Many [adult] members of underserved communities of Cambridge do not have the same awareness of, and therefore ability to access, city resources,” indicating a lack of civic familiarity; and


WHEREAS: A 2010 Harvard Study by Jennifer Bachner concurs with other literature, finding that civic engagement at school increases voter turnout, most notably in depoliticized households; and


WHEREAS: There is a general lack of emphasis on municipal elections among the electorate, and as such these are not the focus of efforts to engage youth voters, preventing an increase in turnout; and


WHEREAS: Problems with election day logistics and infrastructure, which come to light each political cycle, are likely due to the fact that there is no way to simulate the election beforehand; now therefore be it


ORDERED: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Election Commission and the appropriate city departments to determine a feasibility study and subsequent action plan, institutionalizing mock municipal elections in Cambridge schools before each election; and be it further

ORDERED: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.

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  • commented 2015-07-27 12:29:24 -0400
    How would this be paid for? Would it be during normal school hours, if so how would you determine which classes were interfered with? If not would you pay the election commission to run it and give extra pay to teachers to help staff? What specifically about this do you think will further engage the high school population in local politics? Given that the responsibility of orchestrating this would fall on the teachers at Rindge have you consulted with them in general about this order and do they endorse it?
  • commented 2015-07-25 19:06:19 -0400
    Really cool idea! Is this going forward?

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