Nova Scotia junior high students get a taste of democracy in mock vote

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WATCH ABOVE: Grade school students across Nova Scotia got a taste of their democratic rights through a “mock vote” coinciding with the provincial election – May 29, 2017

Canadians must be 18 years old in order to vote in elections, but that didn’t stop junior high students in Eastern Passage from getting a taste of their democratic right.

“It is very important to vote. It’s for you, it’s not just for other people or your parents, it’s for you too,” Josie Vaughan said, a Grade 8 student at Eastern Passage Education Centre [EPEC].

Vaughan is one of thousands of Nova Scotia students from elementary to high school who cast their vote in a “mock-election” coinciding with the provincial election.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia election: 10 Halifax ridings to watch on election night

“I’ve been really interested in the voting process because it’s a right that you should exercise when you’re 18,” Kaileigh Waugh said, another Grade 8 student at EPEC.

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Students got to cast their ballots for official electoral candidates as part of “Student Vote Day.”

“It’s all set-up as closely as possible to the actual election so when I go to vote it will be the same set-up,” said Trevor Pierce, a teacher at EPEC, who helped organize the event.

Student Vote Day is meant to engage youth in the importance of exercising their democratic right.

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All candidates from the electoral district of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage came to the school to answer students’ questions and discuss their parties platforms.

“It was empowering to say the least because it shows that all the candidates, they really do care about the education and the students,” Waugh said.

“What I liked most is that all the candidates came in and thought this was important, that the student vote was important. They gave up an hour, hour-and-a-half of their time, to talk to a group of students who can’t vote but they thought it was important to get their opinions,” Pierce said.

They’re opinions that the students will share with their parents as part of a larger democratic picture.

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“We influence our parents on who to pick, we go home and tell them who we thought was a good person and what we think,” Vaughan said.

READ MORE: Complete Nova Scotia election coverage

All student votes will be counted and compared with the official results that come through on election night, May 30.

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