Students across St. Albert will head to the polls this month to cast their votes in a mock provincial election.
Thousands of St. Albert students will hold mock provincial votes later this month as part of the popular Student Vote initiative. Run by the charity CIVIX, Student Vote sees students hold simulated elections in parallel with actual municipal, provincial, and federal ones to learn more about government and the electoral process.
Teacher Cameron Leverman is running the Student Vote at Bellerose Composite. He said the program meshes well with the Social 30 curriculum and helps nervous first-time voters understand how elections work.
“A lot of students don’t see the point of voting, they don’t think their vote matters,” Leverman said.
Programs such as Student Votes show students how the electoral system works and the importance of their vote so as to encourage them to vote in actual elections, bolstering voter turnout, Leverman said.
Leverman said his students are learning the various party platforms and will post information about them around Bellerose in the coming weeks. They have also used the CBC’s Vote Compass website to grasp their own political leanings. On the day of the Student Vote, they will act as poll workers to collect and count ballots cast by their fellow students.
Grade 12 students Lucy Cronshaw, Chloe Murchison, and Makenna Patterson are helping to run the Student Vote at Bellerose and plan to vote in the actual provincial election.
Patterson said she has wanted to vote in an election since she was 14, and has been keeping a close eye on the issues in the lead-up to this election.
“Our generation is the one that is either going to change things or have them stay the same,” she said.
“I just think it’s super-duper important to go out and vote and have your say in your government.”
Cronshaw, Patterson, and Murchison said they were learning about the first-past-the-post system as part of Student Vote and how strategic considerations can influence a person’s vote.
Cronshaw, Murchison, and Patterson said they were leaning toward the NDP this election due to their stance on health care and education. Cronshaw said she was concerned about the cost of privatized medicine, having experienced it at her day job at a veterinary clinic. Patterson said she wanted to see action on climate change, particularly when it came to investment in renewable energy and training for oil and gas workers who want to get into that industry. She also hoped to see limits on the cost of post-secondary education.
“Post-secondary is really, really important, and people should be able to go and not have to worry that it’s going to break the bank,” Patterson said.
Cronshaw said it is important for youths to vote in this provincial election if they can.
“It’s your generation, and these are issues that are affecting you,” she said.
Leverman said Bellerose students will go to the Student Vote polls May 25.
Visit studentvote.ca for details on Student Vote.