Students taking part in provincial election in a different way

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Political parties and candidates across the province are working hard to try and convince as many people as they can to line up behind them, as the June 2 provincial election draws closer.

It's a time when many people will be making up their minds, but despite a recent discussion over the voting age in Canada, students in high school won't be able to weigh in.

That doesn't mean they aren't actively paying attention to the situation however.

CIVIX is organizing a Student Vote parallel election, with all elementary and secondary schools in the province invited to participate.

Joe Sasso, a Geography and Civics teacher at Assumption College Catholic High School, says across Ontario there will be schools running student votes.

"Where students actually get to vote for the candidates in their riding. Now the results do not count because the voting age is still 18, but it's really interesting because the results that come back are not really what you'd expect," he said.

Sasso says as an example in the most recent federal election where the Liberals won a minority government, according to the student vote, it would've shaken out with the Liberals getting 118 seats, the NDP being the official opposition with 108 seats and the Conservatives in third with 88 seats.

He says that students are paying more attention to politics these days, and in his opinion the recent discussion about changing the voting age to 16 in Canada is on the right track.

"Are there adults who take voting seriously and can't do, or don't really care and just go in and pick a ballot? Yes. Would there be youths who do that? Yes of course, but there's also students who would be very much engaged in the process and know what the issues are."

Sasso says Student Vote is something the students enjoy, and they've got resources for both elementary and secondary students.

"And they will send you actual ballot boxes, they will send you the paper ballots," he continued. "In the fall when we had the federal election, because of COVID-19, we had an online google form where students were allowed to vote only once."

Student Vote uses the election as a teachable moment and enables teachers to bring democracy alive in the classroom through a hands-on learning program where students experience the voting process firsthand and cast ballots for the official candidates running in the election.

 

- with files from AM800's The Morning Drive