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Prince Andrew High School students to cast votes in simulated federal election

To help the students decide who they want to vote for, the school will be holding a candidates forum Tuesday morning
(stock photo)

Even though the majority of students at Prince Andrew High School aren't old enough to officially vote in the federal election, many will still be casting ballots.

The Dartmouth school will join over 9,500 elementary and high schools across the country participating in the Student Vote Canada 2019 program.

Non-partisan group Civix has teamed up with Elections Canada to allow students go to the simulated polls, providing registered schools with riding maps, ballots and ballot boxes free of charge.

"There's research that shows when you engage people early in their lives to vote, then they stay engaged," says teacher Ben Sichel, whose Grade 12 Global Politics class will be running the mock vote at Prince Andrew.

"Over the last many decades, we've heard about declining voter turnout, especially among young people, but if you get people hooked and interested early ... they tend to become active and engaged citizens for the rest of their lives."

To help the students decide who they want to vote for, the school will be holding a candidates forum Tuesday morning with candidates in the Dartmouth - Cole Harbour riding.

Sichel's class has been busy collecting questions from students to ask the Conservative Party's Jason Cole, the Liberal Party's Darren Fisher, the NDP's Emma Norton and the Green Party's Lil MacPherson.

"The same issues that are on the minds of the public at large are on the minds of our students," he tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. "Climate change, Indigenous rights, LGBTQ rights, abortion, you name it, the kids are talking about it. It'll be interesting to see how the candidates respond tomorrow."

Sichel says the students are excited to participate in democracy, even though their ballots won't officially count this election.

"We tend to think that young people are heads down into their iPhones, on Snapchat and Instagram, but it's evident that our students are really engaged in what's happening in the world around them," he says. "We saw that last week at the huge climate change rally. Obviously young people are interested in having a future and they're interested in all sorts of issues."

Prince Andrew students will go to the polls on Oct. 16, however the results of their vote can't be made public until after we know the outcome of the actual federal election.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for
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