Preparing to vote

by Kent Caddick

Three Selwyn schools have signed up to run their own mock elections this September through the Electoral Commission’s Kids Voting programme.

Pupils from West Melton and Prebbleton primary schools, and Lincoln High School, are among over 100,000 students from 541 schools already registered for Kids Voting ahead of the general election in September.

Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright said that compares with 78,000 students from 556 schools at the last election in 2014 and they are expecting more to join up. 

“The high number of early registrations shows schools are keen to give their students an opportunity to learn about the electoral process,” Ms Wright said.

“It’s a practical way to show students how our electoral system works and helps them understand the process and get ready to vote when they turn 18.

“Voting is a lifelong habit. The earlier young people start to vote, the more likely they are to keep voting.”

Ms Wright said it can be run on a small or large scale, from one to two classes to the whole school.

“It’s great fun for students and teachers and some schools go all out. Over the years we’ve seen some schools hosting candidate debates for their electorate, and others forming student branches of political parties and developing their own campaign material.”

Schools can sign up for Kids Voting at www.kidsvoting.co.nz.