VICTORIA, April 29 /CNW/ - The province's youngest citizens are leading
by example and inspiring their families and school communities to get involved
in the provincial election and referendum this May.
More than 75,000 students are expected to take part in Student Vote BC, a
province-wide parallel election. Students will have an opportunity to cast two
ballots: one for a local candidate and one for the referendum question. The
results will be tabulated by district and compared to the official results.
In preparation for the vote, students are studying the electoral process,
party platforms and the referendum choices in their classrooms, with many
schools planning candidate visits and forums in lead up to their vote.
On Student Vote Day, May 11, students will take on the roles of election
officials and coordinate a vote for their peers using official Student Vote
ballots and Elections BC ballot boxes.
Even though British Columbians have already enjoyed two previous
elections this school year, more schools have registered for Student Vote BC
than ever before.
"BC classroom teachers are taking up the most important task - teaching
democracy to their students - and are doing so in record numbers," Taylor
Gunn, Chief Election Officer, states. "Social studies may incorporate lessons
about democracy, but nothing compares to experiencing it first-hand. There is
nothing like learning-by-doing. Our sincerest thanks to those teachers that
are incorporating Student Vote into their lesson plans - and a special thanks
to Elections BC ($150,000), the Ministry of Education ($75,000) and the BCTF
($6,000) for making this learning opportunity possible."
In-kind support has also been provided by the BC School Trustees'
Association, the British Columbia School Superintendents Association, the BC
Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, the BC Teachers' Federation, the
British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Association and the Public Education
and Outreach Office of the Legislative Assembly.
Organizers expect an increased turnout compared to the Student Vote BC
program in 2005.
In the 2005 provincial election, approximately 66,000 students cast a
Student Vote ballot from 350 schools. The NDP won that Student Vote with 34.6
per cent of the popular vote and 45 seats. The Liberals would have formed the
opposition with 28.3 per cent of the popular vote and 24 seats. The Greens
would have received their first seats in the legislature with seven elected
MLAs, while the Conservatives would have had one. B.C. students also endorsed
the proposed BC-STV electoral system that year, as recommended by the
Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform.
Student Vote is a national non-partisan organization engaging young
Canadians in the democratic process. This is Student Vote's ninth parallel
election program. More than two million Student Vote ballots have been cast
since 2003. Student Vote has also coordinated other experiments in democratic
engagement in-person, online and on TV.
For further information:
For further information: on schools participating in your region,
contact Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org. For comments or further background on
Student Vote, contact Taylor Gunn, Chief Election Officer, at
email@example.com or 1-866-488-8775