Lesson in democracy: High school students vote in mock election
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2015 8:38PM EDT
Thousands of high-school students in the Toronto area are getting a chance to experience what it’s like to vote as part of a Canada-wide initiative to educate young people about their civic duty.
"Student Vote" is a campaign aimed at increasing voter turnout among young adults by exposing them to voting before they turn 18.
The initiative organizes mock elections for high-school students. The ballots used are identical to real ones, so students get a genuine voting experience.
“This process really gets young people involved and engaged,” said one student, casting his mock ballot.
This year, every single riding across the country will be holding a student vote. There are more than 7,500 schools taking part in the campaign and more than 700,000 students will cast a mock ballot.
Some of the students are only months away from turning 18 and being able to vote. They say Student Vote is a valuable experience that will prepare them for that day.
“It really gets kids like us thinking about political views and thinking about what happens when we turn 18,” said one student.
Organizers hope that earlier exposure to voting through the program will get more people out to the polls in future elections.
“If kids could just have the opportunity to experience their democracy, not study it out of a textbook -- citizenship is about doing," said Taylor Gunn, one of the program’s founders.
Student Vote will not release the results of mock election until the real results of the federal election are in.
With a report from Naomi Parness