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13-year-olds set to vote in record numbers

MEDIA RELEASE

November election: 13-year-olds set to vote in record numbers

For immediate release on 23 September 2008

More than 24,000 year nine students from across New Zealand will be among the first to 'cast their votes' in the 8 November general election through Kids Voting, a programme educating and enthusing future voters with real life experiences of the campaign and election processes.

Kids Voting co-ordinator Penny McLean says the record registration of 877 classes in 134 schools so far has already bettered the 17,000 students from 650 classes in 120 schools who participated in last year's local elections and showed growing teacher recognition of the programme's value.

"With the help of NZ Post and the electoral agencies, Kids Voting puts posters, stickers, instructional guides, and voting materials into schools which in turn build an educational experience around the voting process to suit students and available classroom time.

"While Kids Voting demystifies elections in a fun way, we know it also reaches into the home and out to parties and candidates who respond to school invitations.

"Students will be doing things like researching their election choices; exploring elections, parliament and government; or analysing media coverage before taking on responsibility for running the Kids Voting poll early in election week using replica ballot papers. Counting takes place after 8 November, and Kids Voting electorate and party votes will be tallied nationwide to allow comparison with the actual results," says Penny McLean.

Schools who wish to take part need to register online now at www.kidsvoting.org.nz. Registrations will close this Friday 26 September at noon.

ENDS

About Kids Voting

Kids Voting:

* went nationwide for the first time at last year's local elections after being pioneered in New Zealand by Auckland City

* is sponsored by NZ Post and hosted by the Electoral Commission for the general election

* is part of the Growing Active Citizens project co-ordinated by Local Government New Zealand with support from a range of central and local government partners. Growing Active Citizens aims to increase active participation in decision-making locally, regionally and nationally by developing resources to support citizenship education for young people in schools.

ENDS


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