Students cast ballots for mayors in Waterloo region, Guelph

Students from across Waterloo region and in Guelph cast ballots as part of a mock municipal election set up by the organization CIVIX.

'Students are driving important conversations,' CIVIX COO Lindsay Mazzucco says

Students cast ballots in Student Vote program, a mock municipal election to get young people interested in voting. (CIVIX)

If it was up to students, Berry Vrbanovic won the mayoral vote in Kitchener, Cam Guthrie got re-elected mayor in Guelph and Dave Jaworsky was the winner in Waterloo.

Students took part in Student Vote, a program of the national civic education organization CIVIX. The program set up ballot boxes in Waterloo region and Guelph schools.

The students' results saw:

  • Kitchener: Berry Vrbanovic elected with 59 per cent of the vote.
  • Cambridge: Kathryn McGarry elected with 34 per cent of the vote.
  • Waterloo: Dave Jaworsky elected with 60 per cent of the vote.
  • Guelph: Cam Guthrie elected with 73 per cent of the vote.

The Student Vote program did not do a mock election for regional chair or in the townships.

Across the province, nearly 2,000 schools in 250 municipalities took part in the mock municipal elections.

"Students are driving important conversations at school, at home and in their community," Lindsay Mazzucco, chief operating officer of CIVIX, said in a release.

"It is inspiring to hear and see the stories of students interacting with the candidates and bringing forward issues of concern."

Should voting age be lowered?

In an interview with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo, University of Guelph professor Leah Levac said people between the ages of 18 and 29 often don't have municipal elections on their radar, so tend not to vote in them.

When they are aware, she says there's often a sense of disillusionment with the process.

"We have certainly problems with our electoral system that prevent people from feeling like their voice and their vote is actually meaningfully reflected in the results of elections," she said.

Levac says lowering the voting age could encourage more young people to vote.

"There is some research to suggest that one of the common predictors of somebody's choice to vote is actually habit and so once you become a habituated voter, you are more likely to keep voting," she said.