Youths conduct their own vote
Thomas Mete organized a student vote for students in Grades 4 through 6 last Friday to encourage them to learn more about politics. Sarah Ferguson/Fort Erie Times/Postmedia Network
According to eleven-year-old Thomas Mete, every vote matters.
“Even if people don’t think it does, your vote can make a difference,” Mete explained.
“At the end of the day, one vote might mean everything.”
Mete, who collected news clippings of the most recent municipal and provincial elections, has a dream of becoming prime minister of Canada one day.
He has even decided on his campaign slogan: “Your voice, your choice, your fate, choose Mete.”
The Grade 6 student at St. George Catholic Elementary School in Crystal Beach wanted to encourage his fellow classmates to get involved in the federal election so he approached Principal Roseanne Sandel and asked if he could organize a student vote.
Mete said he decided he wanted to do a student vote because his mother, who is a teacher, organized a similar event at Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne.
“I think it’s important that kids know about the election so they know what is going on, and when they’re old enough to, they can vote instead of ignoring it.”
With the help of his teacher, Tara Lamorie, Mete applied to the Student Vote, an election program for students under the voting age, for free materials to conduct a vote.
Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, a Canadian civic education organization that focuses on building the skills and habits of citizenship among young Canadians.
Mete collected new clippings from every local paper and researched all of the candidates including NDP candidate Carolynn Ioannoni, Conservative incumbent Rob Nicholson, Liberal candidate Ron Planche and Green Party candidate Steven Soos. He presented each candidate’s platform to students before they cast their ballots. He also gathered volunteers to help run the vote.
Advanced polls were held last Thursday and the regular polls were open on Friday.
Ioannoni was the winner of the student election, with 25 votes, followed by Planche with 21, Nicholson with 16 and Soos with six.
He said he hopes that the student vote will inspire his classmates to become more aware of the politicians serving at all levels of government and become informed when they are old enough to exercise their right to vote.
“In the last election, 40 per cent of Canadians didn’t vote and 60 per cent of those that did vote, 20 per cent didn’t know who they were voting for.”
Mete has special permission from his parents to stay up late to watch as the election results roll in on Monday night because he can’t wait to learn who is elected as the prime minister of Canada.