Alberta students elect NDP majority in mock vote

Alberta kids took part in a mock student election, Danina Falkenberg finds out how the kids voted and the potential impact of the young vote in the future.

By Danina Falkenberg

It doesn’t count, but 170,000 Alberta students voted in a mock student vote for the Alberta Election this week, selecting a majority NDP government.

Perhaps a glimpse into the future, as some of the students that followed the campaign in real time and cast their mock ballot will be 18 when the next election arrives.

“This is actually the third provincial election that we’ve done in Alberta since 2015, and actually in 2015, as well as 2019, the results of the student vote actually mirroed the general election with a UCP win, so this is the first time that we’ve seen the NDP win for the student vote in Alberta,” said Ruth Matthew, community relations manager with Civix.

Here in Alberta, the adults voted in a UCP majortity with 49 seats in the legislature, and 38 NDP seats for the official opposition. The students voted in 47 NDP MLAs and 39 for the UCP.

The top two closest ridings in Acadia and Glenmore the students chose an NDP candidate but it wasn’t as tight of a race. In Calgary-North, the result was very close in the student vote and in real life — but the students chose the opposite side, they went with an NDP candidate.

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“In this case specifically, we saw a slim margin of just about 52 votes, to put that into perspective for the student vote population, that could be about two classes in a school,” said Matthew. “So having the students be able to go back and look through the results, it helps them understand and value the importance of voting and how every vote really matters both in the student vote and in the adult general.”

Some of the student participants can actually vote in the next election, but will they?

Apathy is Boring is an organization that works towards getting young people to vote.

“Yes, in terms of numbers, young people could swing the outcome of an election. But, to be quite honest, I think it will depend on how the party’s engage them and look at youth as a real constituency they need to be addressing,” said Samantha Reush, executive director of the organization

She adds that electoral campaigns will allocate resources where they will get the most return on their investment. Young voters aren’t high in voter turnout.

“I think we can start a cycle where more young people show up and we insist on being treated as a valuable constituency for the political parties and I think that’s where you’ll start to see a bit of a shift in turnout but also in the dynamics of how these issues are addressed,” said Reusch.

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