Hailie Baxter, Elyssa Rakusan and Emily Cutforth helped to organize the student vote at Alberni District Secondary School. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

ELECTION 2018: High school students get involved in Port Alberni election

ADSS students held their own student vote

While Port Alberni residents were voting for their municipal leaders last week, students at Alberni District Secondary School were also holding their own “mock” election.

Students Emily Cutforth, Elyssa Rakusan and Hailie Baxter—all members of Anne Ostwald’s Social Justice class at ADSS—helped to organize the student vote. By visiting different classrooms across the school, they explained the rules of the student vote and introduced the different candidates for mayor, city council and School District 70.

“We wanted to encourage more students to participate,” said Cutforth.

“And we wanted them to talk to their parents about voting,” added Rakusan, noting that the voter turnout “hasn’t been very good” in Port Alberni for the past few years.

The student vote included a polling station with ballots.

“We tried to simulate as much as we could an actual voting station,” said Cutforth. “[Students] had the option to vote or not, just like they do in a real election.”

The student vote came very close to the results of the “real” municipal election. Sharie Minions earned the mayoral victory, and students selected four out of the six winning councillors (Cindy Solda, Helen Poon, Debbie Haggard and Ron Corbeil). Students also correctly selected five out of the six winning school district trustees (Connie Watts, Larry Ransom, John Bennie, Pam Craig and Rosemarie Buchanan). Cutforth, Rakusan and Baxter said they had expected these close results after the all-candidates meeting that was organized by another class. Once students got a chance to see their prospective municipal leaders, the votes started coming in the same way, said Rakusan.

READ: Alberni District Secondary School students ask the tough questions

“After the all-candidates meeting, we expected it to be closer to the actual vote,” added Baxter.

The three students added that they “weren’t really surprised” by the final results of the actual election.

“I think we all expected Sharie [Minions] to win,” said Baxter. “Everyone seemed to like her.”

“She had a good platform,” added Cutforth. “Everyone knew her from council, so she had the experience. But at the same time, she was new and different.”

Final results for the ADSS student vote:

Mayor

Sharie Marie Minions = 125

Mike Eugene Ruttan = 77

Denis Edward Sauve = 68

John Maxwell Douglas = 62

Kevin Allan Wright = 29

Gary Edwin Robertson = 23

Rejected votes = 3

Councillor

Cindy Nadine Solda = 143

Helen Poon = 140

Michael Gordon Moore = 127

Debbie Jo Haggard = 113

Helen Rose Robertson = 93

Ron Maurice Corbeil = 84

Char Anne Patterson = 74

Matthew Daniel Pearson = 70

Kris Michael Patterson = 69

Rick Daniel Ethier = 67

Hira Lal Chopra = 64

Todd Grant Patola = 59

Dan Wayne Washington = 59

Seva Kaur Dhaliwal = 57

Ron Allan Paulson = 55

Christopher Joseph Alemany = 54

Aaron Christopher Brevick = 54

Blain Pouliot = 50

Jerome Ernest Henrik Luchka = 44

Karl Eugene Hamagishi = 37

Rejected votes = 3

School District 70 (Alberni)

Connie Linda Watts = 128

Larry Charles Ransom = 122

John William Bennie = 120

Pam Ann Craig = 120

Rebecca Clare Standley = 109

Rosemarie Maxine Buchanan = 100

Cherilyn Elizabeth Bray = 99

James RK Brook = 94

Jane Jones = 94

Christine Maria Washington = 81

Karrine Elizabeth Magnussen = 78

Rejected votes = 3

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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