20 June 2007
This election, Hamilton children will have their say about who they think should run the city thanks to a new initiative being offered to schools.
'Kids Voting' gives students the opportunity to participate in an authentic voting experience at school. Students vote for real candidates using real ballot papers, and compare the results from the Kids election with the results of the real election.
The popular programme originated in the US in the late 1990's and was first introduced by Auckland City Council in 2000. It has enjoyed increasing support with 30 intermediate and high schools throughout the Auckland area participating in the 2005 parliamentary elections involving 6,000 students.
Kids Voting is designed to raise awareness amongst young people about New Zealand's electoral process. In New Zealand the average voter turnout is only 45% and even lower in young people. Kids Voting aims to give youth first-hand experience in elections and therefore increasing their personal understanding and confidence in electoral participation.
While Kids Voting is designed to work with the year-nine social studies curriculum, other classes can use the resource effectively.
Electoral officer Blair Bowcott says that it is an ideal opportunity for school students to get first hand exposure to the electoral process enabling them join in to discussions about the election at home with their family.
"Through the promotion of this fun and interactive way for kids to learn about the electoral process, we hope that there will be a general greater awareness of the upcoming Local Government Election and in future years it will translate into an increase in voter turnout".
Further information on Kids Voting is available from the Kids Voting website on www.kidsvoting.org.nz. Schools have until the 31st July 2007 to register their interest.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Fleur Yates
Designation: Election Official
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6771
Name: Sarah Bettle
Designation: Communication Manager
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6843
Mobile: 021 279 2338
Fax (Direct): 0 7 838 6761