Social studies students at Rimbey Jr./Sr. High School cast ballots in a mock election that mirrored the choices bona fide voters made.
The mock election was organized by social studies teacher Barb Nagel.
To qualify the results, the names of the candidates were not revealed to the 205 students, instead, labelling them as “Candidate A,” “Candidate B,” “Candidate C,” etc. The student voters were given a package with information about how the candidates answered the following questions based on previous interviews with the Rimbey Review.
Mayoral candidates: Question #1 – What are the most important issues facing our community today? Question #2 – What would you do to improve the quality of life in Rimbey.
Town council candidates: “What would you do to improve the quality of life in Rimbey?”
School board trustee candidates: What would you do to improve the quality of life in our school district?”
The class read through all the responses to these questions and discussed whether each candidate directly answered the question that was asked and what issues were addressed in their responses. The students voiced what they thought was important and how they thought the quality of life could be improved.
In short, students had to base their votes on the issues, not on the candidate’s name, previous position, or any type of affiliation.
Next, secret ballots were distributed, students voted, and the results tabulated. The actual names of the candidates were not revealed to students until the next day, when they had the opportunity to discuss the real results and compare their school and class-by-class results.
It was a great activity: the students really wanted to have their opinions heard and they debated several questions such as: Should county residents be allowed to vote in the town elections? Should the vote be tied to a person’s place of residence or his/her business? How do we address the idea of homeless people in our province being able to vote? What does it mean to be a responsible and active citizen? Do most voters place their votes based on the candidate’s name, affiliation, or platform?”
Overall, it was an excellent couple of days of observation and discussion.