Kids Voting 2011 Breaks Registration Records
4 October 2011
More than 30,000 school children from around the country will be experiencing next month's General Election and Referendum from inside the classroom, as they take part in the biggest Kids Voting programme ever held in New Zealand.
"Kids Voting is a programme for young New Zealanders that encourages them to learn about and experience an authentic election," says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. "We're thrilled to be running Kids Voting in 2011, and that more students than ever before will be participating."
"Taking place just ahead of the 26 November General Election, it gives students the chance to take part in an election with real parties, real candidates, and real issues, and will help them grow up to become the active, engaged citizens we all want them to be."
Students vote for real candidates, on an authentic ballot paper, and compare the results of their classrooms' election with the results of the real election.
Kids Voting is designed to raise awareness among young people about New Zealand's electoral processes.
"Educating the next generation of voters is critical," says Mr Peden. "We need them to know that they have a voice, they can have a say in the decisions that affect them, and give them the opportunity to see how it works - before they turn 18."
In New Zealand, as in most developed democracies, voter turnout is falling and levels of political engagement are low among young people. The aim of the Kids Voting programme is to build first-hand experience of an election by young people to increase their confidence in the electoral process.
"Kids Voting is fun, it's free and it gives students a real experience of taking part in the democratic process," says Mr Peden. "And it's not too late to sign up - schools can register until October 7 at www.kidsvoting.org.nz."
Looking back at the 2010 Local Government Elections
2010 was another successful Kids Voting year. Thank you to all those teachers, students and council staff who participated in the Kids Voting local body elections.
In 2010, 148 schools throughout the country registered 850 classes and 22,885 students for Kids Voting! There were also 50 local authorities (including 2 youth councils and 1 regional council) who participated in Kids Voting. We received results from 51 schools from throughout the country. This means that at least 2980 students completed Kids Voting.
Getting ready for the 2011 Parliamentary Elections
This year Kids Voting concentrates on the Parliamentary Elections (including a referendum) and is supported by the Electoral Commission.
Please send in your stories and photos about your Kids Voting 2011 experience - simply email them to email@example.com.
Voting at Mount Hutt College