P.E.I. students cast ballots in province-wide student vote

Grade 9 students at Queen Charlotte Intermediate are gearing up to cast their ballots Tuesday in a student vote organized by a national non-partisan group called Civix.  

Leading up to the vote, Queen Charlotte students learned about the different parties, local candidates, their platforms and how an election works.

Thousands of high school students across the province are participating in the student vote. Ballots cast by students will be counted by each school and reported to Civix confidentially. 

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Pitching parties and platforms

"The minute the election was called we started the campaign. It's really important and it is part of the social studies curriculum," said Craig Taggart, Grade 9 social studies teacher at Queen Charlotte Intermediate.

Taggart's students were broken up, at random selection, into parties and were asked to research the Island's political parties, leaders and campaign platforms.

Last week, one member from each group went from classroom to classroom and pitched their party's platform to their peers.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Preparing kids for future voting

"One of the first things I realized when I brought this up is that a lot of them don't understand how an election runs, what an election actually is, and what's involved in the whole thing," Taggart said.

"By studying it and learning the whole process they're going to be better equipped when it comes time to vote — possibly in the next provincial election ... they're going to be prepared to do that."

Preparing for the vote has been an exciting time for Grade 9 student, Gracie McQuaid.  

"This project definitely made me feel more aware of what was going on and the issues on P.E.I.," she said.

There are 620 possible student votes at Queen Charlotte alone, Taggart said. While Queen Charlotte students have been invited to participate in the vote they are not required to — but Taggart anticipates a high turnout.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Knowing how to vote

In deciding how she would cast her ballot, Grade 9 student Makenna Munn said, "I think I was looking at what would be better for our society, you know, to improve things like for our future."

The student vote has taught Munn how to vote and what to research in order to make an informed vote, she said.  

It's important to get them ready to vote when they turn 18, like they'll know what to do instead of going in there and being confused. - Makenna Munn

Knowing how elections work and how to vote is important for kids to learn, she said.

"It's important to get them ready to vote when they turn 18, like they'll know what to do instead of going in there and being confused," Munn said.

The results from the student vote will be released after the polls close tonight.  

More P.E.I. news