Young people of the second cycle of high school will be able to vote in the upcoming municipal elections. Indeed, the Chief Electoral Officer is teaming up with the Youth Forums of Québec and the Centre de développement pour l’exercice de la citoyenneté (CDEC) to launch the 2005 Voters in training election simulation program. Be sure to register!
Voters in training is a non-partisan education in citizenship program that consists of introducing high school students to how democracy works and how a true election unfolds. This activity will be offered throughout Québec, both in English and French (under the designation of Électeurs en herbe). During an initial experience associated with the 2004 federal elections, more than sixty schools took part in the program and 10,000 students exercised their “right to vote”.
The November 2005 municipal elections represent an excellent opportunity to once again experiment with this program which introduces young people to democratic life, especially since all of the municipalities of Québec will be holding elections simultaneously for the very first time!
In the upcoming weeks, educational activities will allow young people to learn about election issues and to familiarize themselves with the platforms of the political parties and candidates of their municipality. Students will have the opportunity to make known their concerns, to begin reading various newspapers, to participate in debates, to write texts outlining their opinions, to conduct surveys, etc. At the end of the activity, young people will be called upon to vote for a candidate for a councillor’s position or for a mayoralty candidate in their municipality. On election night, participants will see the results of their voting posted on the Voters in training web site and in certain media. That way, they will be able to compare their choices with those of more experienced voters.
The contribution of the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec will make it possible to ensure that this program dovetails with the democracy in education programs that this institution has been offering for close to 15 years. The Chief Electoral Officer will provide ballot boxes and polling booths to schools free of charge. This will make the simulation more realistic and interesting for students.
Educators and the persons in charge of youth organizations interested in taking part in the Voters in training program are asked to register right away on the following site: www.votersintraining.org. They will receive free of charge a pedagogical guide, activity sheets and all the election material needed to organize the election.