School children to ‘vote’ in local council elections
School children across New Zealand can experience a local council election first-hand as voters in the Kids Voting 2016 programme.
Supported by Local Government New Zealand as part of its Vote2016 campaign for the October local elections, Kids Voting gives young people aged 11 to 15 years the opportunity to engage with real issues, decide which candidates best represent their own views, and vote for real candidates in their region.
Around 44 schools and 8,319 students registered three years ago; a significantly higher participation rate than in 2010.
LGNZ is now calling for expressions of interest for Kids Voting 2016. A letter has been sent to all schools with students in years 7 to 10 inviting them to participate and already eight have signed up.
Although the students' votes will not be officially counted, the experience of participating in a real election is a powerful way to instil an understanding of the value and importance of local government in New Zealand’s future voters.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said Kids Voting aligns with LGNZ’s Vote2016 campaign to lift nationwide voter turnout in local elections to more than 50 per cent for the first time since the 1980s.
“Kids Voting is an engaging teaching resource in political awareness, giving our future voters a real and meaningful experience of the value and importance of the democratic process. They get engaged with local issues, think about what matters and see how their power to vote can make a difference.
“There is still plenty of time for schools to get involved and give the next generation the voting experience.”
Visit LGNZ to get the teaching resource and find more information on Kids Voting.