Tyson Clark, 11, casts his ballot as Hunting Hills High School student Sara Williams looks on at the city’s trial election at Central Middle School on Thursday morning. The event gave election workers a dry run for Monday’s municipal election and allowed Grade 6 students to get a taste of democracy in action.

Grade 6 students get lesson in democracy

About 175 students went to the ballot box at Central Middle School in trial election

Election workers got a test run and Grade 6 students a primer in democracy during a trial election on Thursday.

Central Middle School was election central in the morning as 175 Grade 6 students armed with their ballots embraced their democratic right — at least the right they can officially exercise when they turn 18.

Returning officer Frieda McDougall said the ballots are the same as those eligible voters will be casting on Monday.

The students from Central, G.H. Dawe and Glendale Schools were given some homework to do before they came to vote.

“They’ve had to research their candidates,” said McDougall. “We’ve also asked them to come in with some scenarios that our voting station workers would experience on election day.

“For example, some of our students will not have ID. Some of our students might be coming from the wrong area.

“So any of those types of circumstances that we would normally run into, we’re just trying to put our workers through their paces and give them that experience before Monday.”

Central Middle School principal Darrin DeMale said with voter turnout on the decline in recent elections it is good to teach young people that casting a ballot is an important part of being a citizen.

Students seemed to get a kick out of it too.

“The kids love it,” he said, adding the election has been focused on in the classroom over the last few days.

“The kids just really appreciate the opportunity to come in here and be part of the election.”

Central student Mackenzie Sullivan, 11, said she’s “pretty excited … because we get a say in what goes on in our town.”

Sullivan said that in class the students talked about how to make decisions on candidates and how to keep elections fair.

Like his peers, Kessler Bettenson, of Central, is seven years away from becoming an official elector but enjoyed learning about elections.

“It’s cool to get experience on how you do vote and how that works,” he said. “We’re learning about how they do things and why they do it.”

For Central student Ainsley Dow, 11, the big takeaway from this assignment was that everybody’s vote matters.

She said she now has a better understanding of how the electoral process works and found the elections signs interesting.



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