The election results are in from Red Deer’s future voters.
Last week, more than 450 Grade 6 students from across Red Deer cast their ballots in a student trial election.
They also had the opportunity to learn about the election process, putting election workers through their paces.
As part of their Grade 6 curriculum, students have been learning about local government and how everything works. The trial election allowed them to experience the election process first hand by casting their ballots for the official election candidates.
The trial election results came in with Tara Veer in first place as mayoral candidate with 393 votes, while Sean Burke had 52. The top eight candidates selected by students in order include, Lawrence Lee, Michael Dawe, Tanya Handley, Frank Wong, Sandra Bergeron, Buck Buchanan, Dianne Wyntjes and Ted Johnson.
For the role of Public School Trustee, Nicole Buchanan came in first place followed by Dick Lemke, Laurette Woodward, Patrick O’Connor, Chris Woods, Cathy Peacocke and Jim Watters.
The role of Catholic School Trustee included Marie Anne Watson in the lead followed by Murray Hollman, Adriana Lagrange, Kim Pasula and Carlene Smith.
“The trial is really to put all of our election workers through their paces so that they understand what to expect on election day and are ready to deal with serving our voting community, but we’re also getting our students to participate in the democratic process,” said Frieda McDougall, returning officer with the City of Red Deer, during the event last week.
McDougall said students had to research their candidates ahead of time, and were asked to come into the trial with some scenarios that the voting station workers would experience on voting day.
“So for example some of our students will not have ID, some of our students might be coming from the wrong area, so any of those types of circumstances that we would normally run into. We’re just trying to put our workers through the paces and give them that experience before Monday,” she said.
This is the second time where the City has done a trial election.
“We actually have always partnered with our school boards in terms of having them come visit City Hall, interact with council and learn about local government.”
McDougall said in targeting Grade 6 students, a lot of them will go home and talk to their parents about the voting process.
“What they’re doing is they’re engaging their parents and we think that’s also going to help contribute to our voter turnout on Monday.”
The schools participating in the student trial election included Glendale, Gateway Christian, G.H. Dawe, Central Middle, Normandeau, Camille J. Lerouge and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The trial simulated a real election as much as possible, as students used the same equipment, ballots and vote tabulators that were used at voting stations on election day.