If the students of Newmarket-Aurora had their way, NDP candidate Denis Heng would have been the riding’s next MPP.
Student Vote Ontario released its results June 2, with students across Ontario electing a NDP majority government. Heng was the favourite of the local schools that participated, garnering 28.26 per cent of the vote, six points ahead of Liberal Sylvain Roy.
The initiative was run by a non-partisan charity, CIVIX. President and CEO Taylor Gunn said the vote was a culmination of weeks of engagement with young Ontarians.
“We are grateful for all the educators who dedicated time and energy to cultivating future voters this spring,” Gunn said.
The program operated in conjunction with Elections Ontario sees students learning about government, party platforms, candidates and the electoral process. Students are then invited to vote for official candidates, with the results shared publicly. This is the sixth student vote conducted in the province, dating back to 2003.
In total, 24 schools in the Newmarket-Aurora riding took part, including Terry Fox Public School, Stonehaven Elementary School, Pickering College, and Sacred Heart Catholic High School.
Schools in the riding cast a total of 1,550 votes, with Heng earning 438 and Roy getting 323. Conservative Dawn Gallagher Murphy, the actual election winner, got 323 votes, or 20.84 per cent. Green candidate Carolina Rodriguez got 266 votes, or 17 per cent, compared to the 5.6 per cent she received in the election proper.
Similar results bore out across the province. The NDP got 28.56 per cent of the student vote, which involved 1,672 schools and 252,680 ballots cast, enough to win 75 seats and form a majority government.
The Liberals would be the official opposition with 28 seats and 21.98 per cent of the vote, while the Conservatives got 17 seats and 18.68 per cent of the vote. The Greens also do better by student vote, with four seats and 16 per cent, compared to the six per cent they got in the election.
The organization said the vote is meant to teach citizenship skills by allowing students to experience democracy first-hand.
“By reaching students throughout their school career, during and between election periods, we hope to prepare them to be active citizens before they reach official voting age,” CIVIX said on its website.