First Vote NC is EducationNC's online, simulated election experience for high school students so that they graduate civic ready.

I First Voted TodayThe First Vote NC initiative teaches high school students across North Carolina the mechanics of voting by giving them the opportunity to participate in an online, simulated election, authentic down to the customized ballot based on the address of the student's school and the "I VOTED" sticker.

First Vote NC's work was recognized nationally in fall 2018 when we received an American Civic Collaboration Award (known as the Civvys).

teachers would recommend First Vote

21st century experiential
at its finest

First Vote NC offers a comprehensive civics experience that uses the tools of the 21st century to engage the next generation of voters. Our multi-layered approach includes an authentic simulation election, issue-based questions, demographic data collection for post-election analysis, and a lesson portfolio aligned with NC standards.

First Vote offers North Carolina students and educators an innovative, first-in-class, web-based platform incorporating the best practices described above, creating an opportunity for the state's young people to engage in the democratic process before they turn 18. First Vote's simulations of local, state, and national elections enable students to learn about the mechanics of how, when, and where to vote; to discuss the election; and to actually simulate the act of voting. While the tool is designed with the educator in mind, our ultimate audience is high school students — North Carolina's future voters. Through First Vote, we seek to improve youth voter turnout by demystifying the voting process and making it a habit even before students graduate from high school.

Our mission

First Vote seeks to create a more informed, participatory, and robust citizenship by providing North Carolina's high school students with an authentic, consistent, and relevant civics experience.

Our history

First Vote began as Kids Voting NC, which was established 20 years ago through an appropriation from the NC General Assembly to fund programs in 25 counties. In 2016, Kids Voting NC developed a new model to reimagine and reenergize their efforts, focusing on preparing high school students for civic life. With that transformation, the organization changed its name to First Vote NC and moved to a statewide model. The new model debuted during the 2016 national election cycle with a new platform built by EducationNC. In 2017, First Vote NC became fully incorporated into EducationNC.

Our team

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO of EducationNC. Mebane is trusted for her nonpartisan policy analysis and bipartisan work on the most important issues facing our state for more than 25 years.

Nancy Rose

Nancy Rose, EducationNC's COO, has 35 years of experience working in the nonpartisan public policy space, leading operations, finance, and technology.

Molly Osborne

Molly Osborne is the Policy Director for EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Policy Research and a former teacher.

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is a communications strategist and reports on stories at the intersection of faith and schools, as well STEM education.

Partner Organizations

EducationNC partners with the Illinois-based Center for Technology and Civic Life to provide election data to create the customized ballots.

First Vote also works with the NC Department of Public Instruction, the State Board of Elections, individual schools and districts, and the technology company Participate.

Organizations like NC 4-H and the NC School Board Association provide outreach in their local communities to high schools teachers and district education leaders.

We continue to look for more ways to work with nonpartisan organizations that can help further our mission.

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First Vote NC