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Thousands take to the ballot box from today

Thousands take to the ballot box from today

Over the next two days more than 6,000 school students will cast their votes in the largest mock election ever to be held in Auckland.

Students from around 30 schools are participating in Auckland City’s ‘Kids Voting’ project, which aims to teach students about the democratic process.

It’s part of the Civic Awareness in Schools programme and features a mock MMP election in which students cast a party vote and an electorate vote for real political parties and candidates in their school’s electorate.

Voting days are Tuesday 13 September and Wednesday 14 September, although votes from the mock election will not be counted until 19 September, following the national election on 17 September.

Auckland City’s electoral officer, Dale Ofsoske, says there’s been a three-fold increase in the number of students taking part in this year’s ‘Kids Voting’ project.

“In 2002 we had just 2000 students taking part, but this year we’ve got more than 6,000.

“That’s a phenomenal increase and we’re thrilled because it means more young people are learning about the political process and thinking about what’s important to them in a political party,” Mr Ofsoske says.

This year around 80 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds are officially enrolled to vote. That is well below the level for other age groups, in which around 95 per cent are enrolled to vote.

Mr Ofsoske hopes that the ‘Kids Voting’ programme will encourage teenagers to officially register to vote once they turn 18.

“We are optimistic that this programme will make young people more aware of their electoral responsibilities, so that when they turn 18 they will enrol and vote in both local and central government elections.

“It’s all about increasing participation in the political process,” he says.

At the last general election, the nine schools that took part in the ‘Kids Voting’ programme voted: National 24 per cent, Labour 23 per cent, Greens 15 per cent, ACT 11 per cent, NZ First 5 per cent, United Future 4 per cent and the Alliance 2 per cent.

Those results were not reflective of the actual 2002 election results, which saw Labour on 41 per cent, National 21 per cent, New Zealand First 10 per cent, ACT 7 per cent, Greens 7 per cent, and United Future 7 per cent.

The results from this year’s ‘Kids Voting’ programme should be available by late September.


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