FREDERICTON (GNB) – Thousands of elementary and high school students across New Brunswick will participate in a mock election that gives them the opportunity to vote for candidates in this month’s provincial general election.

Teachers in anglophone and francophone school districts have signed up their classes to take part in Student Vote, a nationally developed program that allows students to learn about government and the electoral process, engage in the campaign and cast ballots for candidates in a parallel election.

The program was developed by the non-partisan group Civix, a registered charity dedicated to fostering active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians.

“We are excited to be partnering with Civix, as well as the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, to offer students an opportunity to exercise their rights as citizens through this hands-on approach, connected to the current election,” said chief electoral officer Kim Poffenroth.

The Student Vote program engages students in the election process at a young age and provides participants with real-time exposure to the issues, platforms and political parties of the current election period. It also gives them the chance to decide who they think should represent them and their communities in the legislature.

“More than 200 schools have registered to participate, representing all 49 electoral districts in the province and all school districts,” said Civix president Taylor Gunn. “We are thrilled to be working with Elections New Brunswick to deliver Student Vote for the first time during a New Brunswick provincial election.”

Results of the voting by students will be made public after the official polls close at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24.