Many voting-age Albertans will cast their ballots for mayors and councils on Monday, but some students in the province are getting in on the electoral action early.
On Thursday, all five candidates running for Edmonton’s Ward 9 council seat showed up to Nellie Carlson School in the city’s southwest.
Grade 9 students came up with questions for the candidates, which were read to them in a gym packed with students, teachers and parents.
Candidates Rob Agostinis, Tim Cartmell, Mark Hope, Payman Parseyan and Sandy Pon took turns answering every question before a timer cut their mic off if they went over the time limit.
The questions ranged from why they’d be the best candidate for the ward, to how they would make transit affordable, and whether photo radar should be abolished in Edmonton.
David Hunt, a Grade 4 teacher and the organizer of the forum, hopes events like this will encourage students to become better voters in the future.
“The way that things seem to be happening where less people are going to vote and there’s a lot of voter apathy and feeling that they don’t have a voice, I think showing the kids at a young age that they have a role is really, really important,” Hunt said.
More than 60,000 elementary and high school students in 934 participating schools are expected to vote for municipal council and school board trustees as a part of a province-wide Student Vote campaign this year.
Student Vote results are expected to be released when the polls close on Oct. 16.