What is Student Vote?
Student Vote is a parallel election for students under the voting age, coinciding with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal elections.
The purpose is to provide young Canadians with an opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand and build the habits of informed and engaged citizenship.
Since 2003, 31 Student Vote programs have been conducted across Canada. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 students cast ballots from 6,662 schools.
How Does it Work?
The program involves four key steps:
- Register your school: The program is open to all schools and there is no cost to participate.
- Receive materials: Registered schools are supplied with pedagogical materials, posters and election supplies.
- Engage with the campaign: The activities are intended to inform students about government and the electoral process, encourage research into the parties, candidates and issues, and foster dialogue among students and their families.
- Student Vote Day: Students take on the role of deputy returning officers and polls clerks, and cast ballots for the official election candidates. The results are tabulated nationally and by riding, and shared with media for broadcast and publication.
Why is it important?
Voter turnout in Canada has been declining for decades at all levels elections, particularly among young people.
Studies have also shown that habits of voting and non-voting persist over time, so if young people don’t vote now, there is good reason to believe that they won’t become voters later in life.
By practicing the habits of informed and engaged citizenship at an early age, students will be more inclined and prepared to participate in our democracy when they graduate high school.