KAMLOOPS — With one week left for eligible voters to send their ballots in for the 2018 referendum on electoral reform, students at Westsyde Secondary cast their votes today (Nov. 30).
The students in Jeremy Reid's Social Studies class have been learning about the referendum and researching the options British Columbians have in selecting a voting system.
"We've been learning about the referendum pretty much since the start of the school year," Reid said. "We knew what the question was, we started researching different forms of proportional representation and also the different points of view. Students started looking at those three different systems, which were on the ballot."
Each ballot gives voters the chance to choose between the current First Past the Post voting system or Proportional Representation.
They can also rank three forms of representation: Dual Member Proportional, Mixed Member Proportional, and Rural-Urban Proportional.
"I'd probably choose mixed member," said Grade 9 student Colton Kovacs, "probably because it's most fair between the different parties, and more parties get to be in there."
"I kind of prefer the dual because it is the most closest to the current voting system," said Grade 9 student Jordan Laroche, "and it might be better if people want to have a change in our voting system."
The votes cast in the mock referendum will be tabulated and the results will be put out on the class's Twitter account.
While they won't have any real impact on the referendum, the students are learning an important lesson in political engagement.
"I think it's important so we know how to research and make important decisions in the future when our vote actually counts towards stuff," said student Isobel Stodola. "And, it's also important for young people to be informed about stuff that's going on in their world."
"I think it's important that students learn how to engage in politics," Reid said, "and this could impact them if the system changes in the future, so it's important."
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