The Student Vote program, a non-partisan educational initiative will provide students under the voting age with a chance to vote in this federal election. 2645 schools have registered for the
program from every province and territory. 500,000 ballots have been requested for the national Student Vote election week occurring from January 16th to 20th, 2006, where students will vote on the real candidates in their school’s riding.
This will be the 5th parallel election offered to schools through the Student Vote program. The program has provided students with the opportunity to study the democratic process and then vote on the real candidates in their riding since the fall of 2003. Student Vote programs have been coordinated for the 2003 Ontario provincial election, 2004 federal election, 2004 Alberta election and 2005 BC election. In just over two years, seven hundred thousand
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students have cast their practice ballot in Student Vote.
Taylor Gunn, Chief Election Officer, states, ‘The goal of Student Vote is to build a habit of active citizenship among students under the voting age. Through the program, students will discover what political issues surround them, how Canada’s democracy operates, and even feel a ‘real’ ballot in their hands. Rather than attempting to make voting cool, we simply hope to make
voting normal for young Canadians.’
Program analysis from 2004 and 2005, suggests that the program has a positive impact on attitudes towards voting and civic responsibility. Survey results also indicate increased levels of political discussion at home among participants during the program.
The results of the Student Vote are kept strictly confidential until after the close of adult polls due to their history of predicting the adult popular vote percentages.
Schools may register for this program, free of charge, at www.studentvote.ca or by calling
toll free, 1-866-488-8775.