If the votes of Surrey and North Delta’s elementary and high school students counted – and were all that mattered – a wave of orange would have washed over the region on election night and pollsters wouldn’t have so much explaining to do.
Students at 73 Surrey schools participated in the Student Vote B.C. program, a provincewide initiative that has kids and teens cast ballots in a mock election designed to teach them about the electoral system.
Student voters in all 85 of B.C.’s ridings cast their votes for local candidates in the parallel election program coinciding with the 2013 provincial election.
In Surrey, students elected NDP candidates in six ridings: Bruce Ralston (Surrey-Whalley), Jagrup Brar (Surrey-Fleetwood), Avtar Bains (Surrey-Tynehead), Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton), Amrik Mahil (Surrey-Panorama) and Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers).
Surrey-Cloverdale and Surrey-White Rock were the only ridings where students elected Liberals (Stephanie Cadieux in Cloverdale and incumbent Gordon Hogg in White Rock).
In the actual election, the NDP won just three seats in Surrey, while the rest went to Liberals.
Similarly, students voting in seven schools in North Delta elected NDP candidate Sylvia Bishop. Liberal Scott Hamilton took the riding in the real election.
Student vote results in the past have typically mirrored the actual outcome – they’ve voted for the same governing party as the adults in 16 of 19 elections. But that was not the case this time around.
The more than 94,000 voting students at 666 schools provincewide elected an NDP majority government with 53 seats. In reality, the Liberals won a majority with 50 seats.