About 140,000 school-age voters will jump the gun on their adult counterparts when they start mock elections next week.
A record-breaking 1034 schools are preparing to take part in the Electoral Commission’s Kids Voting civics education programme, beginning on Monday. The previous highest number of schools taking part in the programme was 832 at the 2017 election.
To help ensure an authentic voting experience, the Commission will send schools mock voting papers for their local electorates. This will allow students to vote for the same real-life candidates as over-18 voters and compare their school’s results with the outcome of the real election.
Students at nearly half of participating schools will also vote in mock cannabis and end of life choice referendums.
About two-thirds of students taking part in Kids Voting – Te Pōti a Ngā Tamariki are in years 1 to 9, and the other third in years 10 to 13.
Kids Voting will run from September 21 to 25 (the last week of term three) and October 12 and 13 (the first two days of term four).
The Commission has already sent schools a selection of curriculum-linked teaching resources, a ballot box, a guide to running an election, digital inquiry cards to prompt classroom conversations about voting, a professional development module on teaching civics and citizenship, and a video explaining MMP.