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Never too young to exercise their franchise

Sea to Sky students get out the vote, electing the NDP's Avi Lewis in Student Vote Canada Election Day.
Student votestockstudioX
A child in a Squamish forest. Students tend to focus more on the environment when they vote, a student says.

Students in the West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country riding cast their ballots a little differently from their parents in the federal election.

As of Sept. 21, 10:20 a.m., corridor youth elected the NDP's Avi Lewis, with 26.70% of the vote. The Green's Mike Simpson came in second at 21.54%. The Liberal's Patrick Weiler earned 20.80% and John Weston of the Conservative Party tallied 17.45%. 

The Liberal Party took the adult vote.

Many Sea to Sky schools participated in the Student Vote Canada initiative, including École Les Aiglons. At the Squamish Francophone school, Simpson of the Le Parti Vert du Canada won the day with 48.28% of the vote. Liberal Patrick Weiler of the Parti libéral du Canada earned 27.59% and the New Democratic Party's Avi Lewis rounded out the top three with 15.52%.

 Amy Dunk, who teaches Grades 4 and 5 at École Les Aiglons told The Chief the school’s intermediate students cast ballots. 

"I want them to be prepared to be voters," she said. "I want them to not have any anxiety the first time they do it [as adults]." 

She stressed to her students that voting means preparing by learning as much as possible. 

"We don't just go and vote blindly," she said. 

Before the vote, the students study the candidates and their platforms and learn about the electoral process. Dunk also taught them that the political advertisements and other things they see online are being targeted at them with algorithms. 

"So they are very aware of all the factors when it is their turn to vote."

 After just casting his ballot, Grade 4 student Léo Slater told The Chief he was "very" excited to vote in his first election on Monday and had decided two nights prior who he wanted to vote for after going through the candidates' "promises" with his parents.

On Election Day, the school vote was similar to the adult one, with an "election card" to tell them where to vote, a ballot with all the candidates' names, and a voters' booth to cast them.

"I was wondering which one to do. I wanted one that would do something about climate change, but my mom said that Green and NDP were going to do that, so I was confused but also excited," said Alex Maheu, who is in Grade 5 and voted for the second time Monday, after also voting in the provincial student election last year. 

Allie Smart is in Grade 7 and already a veteran at voting, this being her third election. 

"The student vote seems a lot more simple and calm," she said of observing the adult vote and the one for youth. 

Young people seem to focus more on the environment when casting their ballots, she said, noting the difference in results between students and adults in previous elections. 

Her message to adults who have the right to cast a ballot in the official election was that it is essential, so do it. 

"I think if you have the opportunity, your voice should be heard because if you just sit there in silence, you might still care, but because you didn't go vote, you didn't do anything, so you can't really be sad because you didn't have a say because you didn't go vote."

(Find each region's school results here.)

Student Vote CanadaNational results
Student Vote Canada National results. Courtesy Student Vote Canada

More than 700,000 elementary and high school students from 5,478 schools across the country participated in Student Vote Canada.

Nationally, students elected a Liberal minority government, with the Libs garnering 24% of the vote, the NDP 29%, the Conservatives 25%, the Greens 10% and the Bloc Québécois 2%.