Sixty four Silver Creek Elementary School students cast their ballots Oct. 22, part of a province-wide student vote initiative which saw the NDP sweep to victory with the Greens becoming the official opposition.
The mock election, part of the Student Vote program where over 750 B.C. schools participated, had 90,000 votes cast and all 87 electoral districts in the province represented. B.C. students gave the NDP a resounding 58-seat victory, with the BC Green Party gaining 17 seats to form the official opposition. The BC Liberal Party gained 12 seats and the Conservative Party of BC and the Christian Heritage Party each gained one seat in the mock election outcome.
In the Silver Creek Grade 7 student election, BC Green Party candidate Jonah Timms came out victorious. The youngest candidate in the Fraser-Nicola race, 26-year-old Timms, gained 16 votes and came out ahead of BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart and BC NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza with 15 votes each. Independents Dennis Adamson and Mike Bhangu garnered 10 and 7 votes respectively. One ballot was rejected, for those who are counting.
Timms would no doubt have preferred the outcome of the Silver Creek student vote to the actual Oct. 24 election, as the likely outcome in Fraser-Nicola is either Tegart or Sumexheltza gaining the seat (see Page A4 for preliminary results). At the time of publication mail-in ballots have not been counted for the swing riding, where margins are usually quite close.
Overall across the Fraser-Nicola district, 15 schools participated in the student vote including Boston Bar Elementary-Secondary. Taken together, the 345 ballots cast in the Fraser Nicola student vote ended up electing the BC NDP’s Aaron Sumexheltza with 123 votes. For a more detailed breakdown, see studentvote.ca.
Nine Boston Bar students participated in the mock election, giving Sumexheltza seven votes and Adamson and Timms one vote each.
Student Vote is an opportunity for students to get a hands-on learning experience about democracy according to Silver Creek principal Bruce Becker. The Grade 7 class learns about party platforms and the voting process and cast their ballots a few years before they themselves become the voters.
Schools set up their voting booths to mirror Elections BC polling stations complete with student voting officers, clerks and scrutineers. Students cast their ballots the same way voters would, and results are kept secret until General Voting Day is over.
The Student Vote program is delivered by CIVIX in partnership with Elections BC, with the Oct. 22 event being the sixth such provincial Student Vote to date.
– with files from Jessica Peters