Kepnock State High School students Sean Dickinson, Heidi McLennan and Stephanie Peters check out the new Students Voice website.
Kepnock State High School students Sean Dickinson, Heidi McLennan and Stephanie Peters check out the new Students Voice website. Max Fleet

Teens voice their choice

THEY may not be of age yet but that is not going to stop a group of Kepnock State High School students from sharing their opinions.

The teenagers will be taking part in a mock election which is being run by Google, asking students between 15 and 17 to cast their ballot online.

Kepnock State High School captain Stephanie Peters was looking forward to seeing the results of the mock election.

“It will be interesting to see if the outcome of the youth election is the same as the real election,” she said.

The students will enrol online and cast their vote between August 9 and 12.

Ballots, which will appear online, will feature the real life candidates' names in the order they will be shown at polling booths at the real election.

The students will vote for candidates from the electorate their school is in.

“Especially with my age group, it's really important that we know about the voting process because we will be old enough to vote next year — some kids in my class have turned 18 already and can vote now,” Stephanie said.

“Perhaps by having this it can get us prepared for what is coming up in years to come and how to vote.”

Prime Minister Julie Gillard urged students to get involved in the mock election.

“I'm pleased to be talking to the next generation of leaders, decision makers and voters,” she said.

“Sure it's a simulation, but it's a way of casting a vote and having your say over who you think should be the prime minister of the country for the future.”

Greens Leader Bob Brown in his YouTube address said his party would give an optional vote to 16-year-olds.

“Democracy is where it's at. If you want to vote for the 21st century, vote Green,” he said, citing a long list of the world's problems including climate change and trillions spent on weapons.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn said Google's Student Voice project was a great opportunity for the voters of the future.

“Google has made this election as realistic as possible by adopting the standards and processes that the Australian Electoral Commission itself uses for the conduct of federal elections,” he said.

Results will be published on August 15.



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