School students from across the country have taken a head start over adults by participating in a mock election. Approximately 115,000 students from 775 schools cast their votes for parties and local electorate candidates mirroring the actual general election. The Electoral Commission facilitated the initiative by providing schools with voting equipment.
Remuera Intermediate School’s mock election saw Sameer managing the queue of voting students, describing the process as straightforward. Norah, part of the school’s publicity team, revealed mixed opinions on whether teenagers should be allowed to vote. While some believe teenagers lack full understanding of the electoral process, others feel they should be entitled to vote. Maelee, another student, expressed enthusiasm about voting when she turns 18 and highlighted the importance of greater voting participation, especially among the Māori and Pasifika youth.
The school’s teacher, Julie Miller, emphasized the importance of early electoral education. She said, “Running it like this means they’re a lot more prepared and engaged in the future.” Anusha Guler from the Electoral Commission pointed out the traditionally low participation of youth in elections, stating that early awareness can boost involvement.
Students expressed gratitude for the Kids Voting programme, which they felt contributed significantly to their interest in the election. The programme taught them about Parliament’s functioning, the election of a government, and the freedom of choice in voting. Luka, one of the students, highlighted the importance of choosing the nation’s leader and encouraged more people to vote.
However, when asked about their mock election choices, Sameer and William remained tight-lipped. The results from the student voting will be disclosed after the official election results are announced.