By Martin, Tijana on October 11, 2017.
Only 30 per cent of the eligible voters in Lethbridge cast their ballot during the 2013 municipal election.
CIVIX, a non -partisan, national registered charity, is attempting to change that by engaging young citizens while they’re still under the voting age.
Around 20 schools throughout Lethbridge are involved in the first Student Vote program for the municipal election, joining just over 900 schools across the province.
Students and teachers at participating schools were encouraged to research the local candidates running and some of the issues the City of Lethbridge is facing. Some students will take on the roles of election officials and have co-ordinated the election process for the student body.
On Thursday and Friday, local students will get to experience the voting process firsthand during Student Vote Day.
LCI students will be given their ballot during their morning adviser period on Thursday.
“All the adviser teachers will be given a package with enough student ballots for all their advisees and the students will have time in adviser class to complete a ballot,” said Laura Murphy-Burke, a social studies teacher at LCI.
Another social studies teacher, she noted, created a condensed version of candidates running for mayor and city council.
“We’ve provided that to students today and they’ll have that available to them on Thursday.”
“It’s our hope at LCI through our social studies program is able to create active, informed and engaged citizens,” said Murphy-Burke.
Her hope is students will have a better understanding of what they’ll need to know when they’re legally allowed to vote “and just kind of take away some of the stigma that it’s a hard thing to do, or inconvenient, or any of those kinds of things and just give them a good first experience of voting so that when they do turn 18, it’s a positive thing for them. It’s something they want to go out to do and they have some experience doing it.
“We are going to send in our results.”
On Tuesday, she hopes to announce the results from the student vote “depending when our actual results come in and just do a comparison of how our school voted verses what happened in the actual election,” she said.
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