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Princess Anne students vote in mock federal election in Sudbury

Grade 4 students at a Sudbury school take part in a youth mock election across Canada.

Kids tell CBC News they didn't realize voting was so simple

Voter participation was nearly 100 percent in this federal election. It was a mock federal election in which kids got to vote. The CBC's Marina von Stackelberg spoke to some grade 4 kids involved in the mock election. She also spoke with their teacher. 7:09

LolaCobersky is voting for the first time—at the age of eight.

The grade four student from Princess Anne Public School was taking part in the program Student Vote. It's a mock federal election just like the real one. More than 850 thousand students from 6,000 schools across Canada were part of it.

I said, 'are you going to vote? I'm going to vote. But don't tell me [who you voted for] though.'- Grade 4 student Grace Beange

Cobersky said voting turned out to be simpler than she thought.

"It's just easy. Because you just go behind a screen basically and check it off," she said. "I thought that you had to do it electronically, like everything now."

Students are given real ballot boxes and take turns working as poll clerks. The project aims to teach students about the electoral process and democracy by making them feel part of it.

Cobersky said after casting her own ballot, she went to the real poll with her mom.

"Then you also get to know who your parents were voting for too," she said.

It's never too early to think about voting

Sean Pretty is Cobersky's teacher, and the one heading up the mock election at Princess Anne Public School.

"We always encourage students to engage in some debate and discussion at home with their neighbours and friends," Pretty said. "It really promotes that ownership and makes them feel like they have a voice that should be heard."

Pretty said students had all kinds of thoughtful questions for him, like why certain groups can vote and others can't. They also ask why certain political parties choose their party colours.

"Often students will ask me who I'm voting for, and of course I always stay totally objective," he said.

Eight-year-old Grace Beange said she wasn't interested in politics until casting her ballot taught her that it's "an important part of life."

Beange said she encouraged other classmates to cast a ballot.

"I said, 'are you going to vote? I'm going to vote. But don't tell me [who you voted for] though.'"

Beange said she voted for the same person who mom voted for, but liked getting to make up her own mind for her ballot.

"It's only a couple more years [till] I get to vote because I'm pretty old and I grew fast."

Students Vote matches real election results

The results from Student Vote couldn't be released until after the real polls closed.

Princess Anne school elected Paul Lefebvre, the Sudbury riding candidate who won the real election. Nationally, the student voters elected a Liberal majority too.

Princess Anne has close to 100 per cent voter turn-out at their poll, except for a few kids who were home sick.

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