While Albertans get ready to head to the polls on Tuesday, many students at Meadowbrook School in Airdrie have already cast their ballots.
During federal and provincial elections, many schools across Canada hold a Student Vote to give kids a sense of the election process.
Shawn Kelm is a teacher at Meadowbrook School and says many of the students are eager to participate despite being under the voting age.
“They feel that they have opinions and they have ideas and they really want to know what is happening in this province and in the country. They eagerly take in all the current events that we can talk about around politics and many of them are very eager for the time when they get a full say. So at this age, they’re looking for any way to have their voice heard,” says Kelm.
In the weeks leading up to the election, students are educated on the party platforms and are encouraged to research the candidates.
Grade 8 student Rachel Carroll says it's a good life lesson and a great way to practice voting before turning 18.
“As kids, we don’t really have a say in our leaders, even though we are the most affected by it long-term. Because the decisions that the premier and prime minister make are going to affect us when we’re adults,” says Carroll.
Grade 5 student Dominic Farr has been following the election and says the process is complicated and that having a student vote helps kids understand it a bit better.
Student Vote Deputy Returning Officer Aiden McEwing says it’s important for his fellow students to take part in an activity like this.
“The MLA is going to affect them quite a bit so it’s good for them to know what’s going on and pick who they think would be the best,” says McEwing.
Teacher and Student Vote organizer Amrit Rai Nannan says in the past, the results of the Student Vote have lined up with the real results.
“They’ll learn something here, they will go home and then they’ll have a real discussion about how it’s going to impact their family. Because of those conversations, I think that’s why it mimics because it allows the kids to go from school to home and have real conversations around something that’s actually happening,” says Rai Nannan.
In the last provincial election, more than 90,000 students across Alberta cast ballots and accurately predicted an NDP win.
UPDATE: More than 165,000 students across Alberta participated in this year's Student Vote, and once again it was very close to the actual results.
The students elected a UCP majority with 49 seats, the NDP won 35 seats, and the Alberta Party won 3. In reality, the UCP came out with 63 seats and the NDP won 24.
The students also elected Angela Pitt for Airdrie-East and Peter Guthrie for Airdrie-Cochrane.
Here's the breakdown of the Student Vote conducted by Meadowbrook School:
|Angela Pitt - United Conservative Party
|Jeff Olson - Alberta Independence Party
|Rick Northey - Freedom Conservative Party
|Alex Luterbach - Alberta Party
|Richard Herdman - Independent
|Roxie Baez Zamora - Alberta NDP
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