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Kids make surprisingly good predictions about local elections in Peace Region

Students in the Peace Region’s two largest cities ended up making some very good predictions in a mock vote that took place last week, but the best prediction of all had nothing to do with any candidates.
Mock vote
Dawson Creek Secondary School students vote in a mock election last Thursday. They ended up getting three out of six correct, and narrowly missed on a fourth candidate.

Students in the Peace Region’s two largest cities ended up making some very good predictions in a mock vote that took place last week, but the best prediction of all had nothing to do with any candidates.

Dawson Creek Secondary School South Campus voters correctly predicted that challengers Paul Gevatkoff and Mark Rogers would find their way to seats on next term’s City Council, as well as incumbent Cheryl Shuman.

On the other hand, the teens also pointed to Justin Pylatuk and Kevin Zarifeh, who ended up being the lowest two vote-getters in the election. They also picked Wayne Dahlen, who did well in the voting but fell just short of a council seat. (In reality, incumbents Charlie Parslow, Terry McFadyen and Shaely Wilbur kept their seats.)

Gevatkoff got the most votes, at 139, while Zarifeh was sixth with an even 100. McFadyen earned 96 votes to come the closest without winning a seat, at least in the student poll.

Fort St. John gave its mock voting power to two local elementary schools, Robert Ogilvie and Bert Ambrose, and kids correctly predicted four of the six candidates who won on Saturday: Dan Davies, Trevor Bolin, Gord Klassen and Byron Stewart.

The other two seats pointed to Dan Pope and Tamara Wilkinson, who were relatively far down in the actual voting. Larry Evans and Bruce Christensen, who were not close in the mock poll, ended up retaining their seats in real life.

One would expect Dan Davies, who reportedly teaches at Ogilvie, to run away with the poll. He did get the most votes, but only by a single ballot over Pope.

The voting events were set up by teachers in the school districts, partnering with the non-profit group CIVIX. Obviously, the votes didn’t count for real, but the teachers told the Alaska Highway News earlier that they hoped the exercise in civics would help the students become better voters later.

However, relatively spotty turnout in both districts ended up being perhaps the students’ most accurate prophecy of all. In Fort St. John, 51 students voted – an 18 per cent turnout that actually beat the city’s shockingly low real-life turnout of 15.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, like the experts say, age was a factor in voting in Dawson Creek, as 257 teens out of a potential cast a ballot for a turnout of 21 per cent. That was lower, but not significantly lower, than the 25.7% turnout among actual voters in the city’s election.

William Stodalka contributed reporting to this article.

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