April 21st, 2019

Local children take part in Student Vote

By Tim Kalinowski on October 14, 2017.

Grade 9 students at St. Mary's take part in Student Vote on Friday for the Medicine Hat municipal election. Pictured: Student Jillian Swennumson receives her ballot from classmate Annika Gosse as Ella Nixon looks on.--NEWS PHOTO TIM KALINOWSKI


Hundreds of students and dozens of schools across the city took part in Student Vote on Friday to make their own choices for the city’s municipal leaders.

While results of the vote will not be released until after the civic election results are recorded on Monday, most students who took part deemed it an excellent exercise in civic responsibility.

“This type of vote is important for a few reasons,” said St. Mary’s School Grade 9 student Griffin Bray, who was eager to cast his vote Friday. “To see what younger people think. To see if parents bias their kids votes. Because when you get older you will be able to determine these (elections) things more.”

Bray revealed he was voting for Scott Raible for mayor because he agreed with more of his positions than the other candidates.

Bray’s classmate Kim Buday picked Ted Clugston as her choice for mayor because he has shown a willingness “to own up to his mistakes.” Buday said she thoroughly enjoyed as a class being able to hear from many of the candidates personally over the past week.

“I think it is good to get involved at a younger age so you are not discouraged to vote when you are older,” she said.

Over at Alexandra Middle School Grade 9 students were equally eager to cast their votes on Friday. Julie-Anne Jans, who serves on student council and has a broad interest in politics in general, said she felt the Student Vote allowed her to feel included in the local municipal election in a way she never has before.

“Some people here are six years out and some are three years out from voting,” said Jans. “We need to start learning now how important it is. The class who is running (this vote) has been working hard to put up posters. It has been advertised. We have been learning about the candidates for about a week now and we have had presentations preparing for this vote.”

Jans revealed she was voting for Scott Raible for mayor because her family knows and likes Raible personally, and that trumps policy issues in her mind.

Jans classmate Abby Lawrence was acting as a returning officer for the election. She felt taking part in the lead-up to Student Vote has been an eye-opening experience for her.

“You learn about the people you are voting for, and you get a knowledge of who is going to be your community leaders in the city,” she said.

Lawrence was still undecided as to who she would vote for in the minutes before ticking off her ballot, but had narrowed her choice for mayor down to either Scott Raible or John Hamill because “they will be a voice for the people in Medicine Hat,” she said.

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