They may be too young to vote yet, but by the time hit the magic age of 18, students at Kingsway Park Public School will have the process down pat.
The youngsters have spent the past several weeks learning about Monday’s federal election, who the candidates are, the issues and some of the tricks of the political vote-seeking trade.
On Friday, after hearing peer-led presentations on each of the south-side candidates and their platforms, the students cast their parallel ballots.
Thirteen-year-old Aubrey Winstl, said it’s important for people to develop the habit of voting at an early age.
“Most people don’t really like to vote, but if you start earlier and vote every year (like this), then as soon as you get to the actual voting age you’ll just keep going,” she said.
Voting gives Canadians a say in the democratic process, Aubrey said.
“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say in what happens to the world, to Canada. Say if someone does not like anything a candidate is doing, don’t vote for them because it’s an extra vote for someone else to hope that they don’t win,” she said, admitting she’s not really following the actual election campaign outside the classroom.
T.J. Munroe, a Grade 7 student at the south-side school, said he’s learned a lot about politics and the people who run the country.
But he’s also learned to be wary about what the candidates have to say.
“They do try to make us vote for them, but they also have these little tricks in their sayings about what they’ll do, so you’ll have to keep on voting for them every (time) to keep up with what they want to happen,” he said, adding he’s been following the campaign fairly closely.
It’s hard to escape, the messages coming at students on television, on their favourite web sites, and political ads on YouTube.
Grade 8 teacher Eilidh Childs said the mock vote helps unveil some of the mystery surrounding voting and encourage students to exercise their democratic right when they hit adulthood.
“They may not know how to do it or how to start, so this parallel election allows them to go through the exact same process that you would if you were actually voting and hopefully take away some of that fear of the unknown, so when they do become 18 they’ll know there’s nothing to worry about and they’ll go vote,” Childs said.
Results of the Kingsway vote will be tabulated and released following the closure of the polls on Monday night.