Andrea Whatley remembers standing in the voting booth last year, pencil in hand, trying to figure out where to place her X.
The Grade 11 student at Brookswood Secondary decided to vote not necessarily for the candidate she wanted but strategically because of the First Past the Post voting system.
“If I don’t want the Liberals winning, I’m going to vote NDP because the Liberals and the NDP are both strong parties,” she recalls thinking.
Whatley was voting at her school during last year’s federal election. Once people are inside the voting booth, all sorts of considerations come into play about whom to choose.
Thankfully, she and her fellow student at Brookswood Secondary have been studying the current provincial election in their Social Studies 11 class.
So when her mom waivered on whether to vote because she wasn’t clear on the FPTP system, Whatley urged her to cast a ballot and could explain all about FPTP, the local candidates and more. Whatley thinks it’s important for people to vote.
“I think it matters because everyone deserves to have the chance to voice their opinions to better their world,” the student told the Langley Advance. “And people should have a say in what government they want.”
All Brookswood students have the opportunity to vote, using Elections BC polling equipment, but they will have to wait until May 10 for results, a requirement of the Elections BC Student Vote program. The B.C. election is May 9.
Teachers Katie Glover and Kait Neufeld will be providing some details before May 10, though. They can tell the students about the demographics of the school voting, for instance. Their Social Studies 11 students oversaw the school-wide vote on May 2.
“We’ve been doing lessons in our classes since the beginning of April,” Neufeld explained.
That included a candidate townhall on April 28, attended by Mary Polak, Gail Chaddock Costello and Elizabeth Walker. The students came up with questions for the candidates in the Langley riding.
“They really enjoyed it,” Glover said of her classes that attended.
Some students’ post-event feedback said they found it only added to their confusion about selecting a candidate but that’s also important for them to experience, Neufeld noted.
“A lot of them noticed really quickly that they [the candidates] don’t answer the questions directly,” Glover said with a chuckle.