Riley Batke participates in the student mock vote held at Columneetza last Thursday by voting for one of the seven Cariboo-Prince George candidates.

Riley Batke participates in the student mock vote held at Columneetza last Thursday by voting for one of the seven Cariboo-Prince George candidates.

Youth perspective provided at mock vote

High-school students participated in a student mock vote at Columneetza and Williams Lake Secondary on Thursday, April 28.

High-school students participated in a student mock vote at Columneetza and Williams Lake Secondary on Thursday, April 28.

The students chose between the seven local candidates, voting on ballots provided by studentvote.ca.

Social Studies teacher Andy Riegl organized Columneetza’s election, and used the opportunity to teach about politics in his classroom.

“I taught the basics about the candidates, the parties they represent, and used CBC’s ‘Vote Compass’ to give students an idea about how to vote,” he said. “The things going on in Africa showed people how valuable voting is.”

At Columneetza, Heidi Redl and the Green party won the mock-vote, with 159 votes, closely followed by Dick Harris and the Conservatives with 138. The NDP had 93 votes; the Rhino party 71; the Liberals 35; Jon Ronan 12; and the Christian Heritage Party six.

“In general you can say that young people are more left leaning; the results are not surprising,” Riegl said. The pro-cannibis stance for the Green party also gets students to vote for them.”

Students appeared to have many different reasons for voting:

“I voted for the Green party because they answered all the questions at the debate,” said Grade 12 student Shenaya Setah. “They are also more about the environment.”

Another student voted for the NDP because of its pro-education stance.

“I voted for Dick Harris and the Conservatives,” said Grade 10 student Cody Haley-York. “I like the health-care plan and keeping corporate taxes lower.”

He said he follows the news online.

“I think a majority of students do not have an interest in politics.”

Some students openly agreed with that statement.

“I voted Conservative because my mom does,” said Grade 12 Jeremy Nicholson, acknowledging that he didn’t know enough about politics to make an informed choice.

Grade 10 student Miranda Fontaine voted for Jordan Turner, the Rhino candidate.

“I couldn’t decide who to vote for and he was second to the bottom,” she said. “I really don’t care.”

She added that she had learned about politics from class, and that she had watched a debate on MTV.

“None of the politicians pay attention to youth, and that’s why I don’t care.”

Still, according to Riegl, “There were fewer students wondering who to vote for and what they were doing this year.”

He gave some of the credit to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and the amount of information passed around online.

“I wish I could vote for real in this election,” said Grade 12 Haley Johnson after she cast her mock ballot. “Youth don’t vote enough, and there are people dying in other countries to vote.”