2010 Ontario Municipal Election Resource for Student Vote - English


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This is an English version of the Student Vote Education Resource that I developed for elementary and high school teachers for the 2010 Ontario municipal and school board elections.

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2010 Ontario Municipal Election Resource for Student Vote - English

  1. 1. Ontario Municip al and School Board Elections Activit y Guide public tran- public transit publictransit recycling urban planning transportation urban planning recycling recreation recreation councillor snow removal social housing councillor urban plan- social housing libraries bylaws street lights public transit libraries mayor parks EMS sidewalk maintenance waste disposal ning road maintenance property taxes libraries sit Potholes Potholes social services parkssnow removal school trustees animal control wards school trustees long-term care homes mayor bylaws public transit street lights StudentVote.ca 1.866.488.8775
  2. 2. Getting StartedThis resource was developed for the 2010 Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections for use inelementary and secondary schools. Below you will find a list of lessons and key concepts contained inthis resource.Key Activities & Enduring Understandings: 1. The Right to Vote in a Democracy (page 4) Elections enable all citizens to have a voice in the people, values and actions that will shape their community’s future. 2. The Structure of Government in Canada (page 8) Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal. Each level of government has its own elected representatives and areas of responsibility. 3. Municipalities and Councillors (page 12) Municipalities, which vary in their composition, are responsible to their constituents for the planning, growth, and safety of the community. 4. School Boards and Trustees (page 16) School boards are responsible to students, teachers, parents, and the community for promoting student achievement and well-being and providing education programs to prepare students for success in civil society. 5. Election Issues and Candidates (page 20) Interaction with local candidates is an important means for voters to better understand election platforms and evaluate candidates’ approaches for addressing local issues. 6. Preparing to Vote (page 24) An informed election decision is based upon personal priorities and information critically gathered and analyzed from a broad range of sources, experiences, and interactions. 7. Overall Activity: Planning for Student Vote Day A thoughtful election administration strategy is essential for ensuring that Canadians are ready, willing and able to participate in the electoral process.Fundamental Learning Objectives:Over the course of the election campaign, Student Vote proposes using the above activities to help yourstudents achieve the following learning objectives: • Articulate the right and responsibility of citizens to vote • Differentiate between the roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government • Understand the electoral process and boundaries for their municipal government and school board • Understand the issues managed by and functions of municipal governments • Understand the issues managed by and functions of school boards • Differentiate between candidates of both the local municipal election and the local school board election • Articulate at least two election issues of local importance • Critically read and use election-related news • Engage with family, friends, community members, and candidates regarding the election • Practice the act of making an election decision and casting a ballot Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections Activity Guide 1
  3. 3. Note to EducatorsAnatomy of the Lesson PlansThe following lesson components have been designed to help students understand the 2010 OntarioMunicipal and School Board Elections while also providing instructional choice for educators dependingon the needs of a particular group of students.Enduring Understanding – Beneath the title of each lesson, an enduring understanding is stated as aguiding concept that students will hopefully comprehend long after the details of the lesson have beenforgotten. Lessons have been structured with the aim of helping students to discover this understandingfor themselves rather than having it taught through direct instruction as a fact.Essential Questions – Essential questions have been posed for each lesson as suggestions for promotinginquiry leading to the heart of a topic and for generating debate, discussion, and reflection amongstudents.Hook – The hook is a brief introductory activity intended to activate students’ intrinsic motivation tolearn about the topic by presenting a challenge, problem, or provocation that tests the knowledgestudents bring to the classroom. Hook activities have been phrased in a manner that speaks directly tostudents, rather than instructing the teacher on how to conduct the activity.Essential Learning – This section is comprised of activities recommended to help students acquirefundamental knowledge, understandings, and skills related to the topic. The emphasis on factualknowledge in these activities is intended to equip students with the essential information that willenable students to make an informed voting decision on Student Vote Day. Essential learning activitieshave been phrased in a manner that speaks directly to students, rather than instructing the teacher onhow to conduct the activity.Extended Learning – Extended learning activities are designed to provide educators with opportunities todifferentiate student learning while challenging students to employ analytic and creative thinking skillsto the topic. The activities have been ranked according to increasing difficulty; therefore educatorsshould assess the ability of students before assigning an extended learning activity. Extended learningactivities have been phrased in a manner that speaks directly to students, rather than instructing theteacher on how to conduct the activity.Key Terms – The list of key terms are intended to highlight election vocabulary that might be new tosome students; consequently, educators might consider previewing or posting these terms in order tosupport student learning. Definitions of key terms can be found in the Glossary posted online at www.studentvote.ca.Teacher Preparation – Each lesson involves some forethought and preparation on the part of theeducator in order to tailor learning for a particular group of students. Teacher preparation notes areintended to help ensure that teachers have materials, activities, and instructional strategies preparedfor students.Home Connections – Discussion at home can reinforce and inform the understandings that studentsacquire in class. A take-home discussion question or activity is suggested with each lesson to helpengage parents or caregivers in learning more about municipal and school board elections.Assessment – Although an assessment tool with descriptors for levels of mastery has not been includedin this resource, criteria for demonstrating understanding have been included in each lesson to guideeducators towards the evidence that should be sought from student activities.2 Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections Activity Guide
  4. 4. Instructional ChoicesSince each group of students is unique, all teachers are strongly advised to consider the activitiesand instructional activities that will best help their students to acquire a multi-facet understanding ofmunicipal and school board elections in Ontario. In this regard, the following reminders are offered:Alternatives to Written ArtifactsStudents do not necessarily demonstrate their understanding of elections in written form. Many ofthe activities have been worded in a way that leaves students free to express their thoughts throughdiscussion, debate, oral presentations, dramatic presentations, and images. When seeking evidenceof understanding, educators are strongly encouraged to vary the form of evidence required in order toallow all students to successfully demonstrate mastery of election knowledge and skills.Emphasis on Literacy SkillsOn the other hand, a significant proportion of lessons in this resource and of publicly-available electioninformation rely on print material. Do not be daunted; rather, please consider using these lessons asan opportunity to practice literacy skills and learn about elections at the same time. Links to exhaustiveliteracy teaching strategies provided by the Ministry of Education are listed on www.studentvote.ca.Authentic TasksStudent Vote strongly encourages students and educators to share products of learning activitieswith the public; the publication or distribution of information and commentary on the municipal andschool board elections lends authenticity to student tasks and has the opportunity to generate greaterpublic interest in local election campaigns. Please consider publishing student work in a special runof school newsletters, posting work on bulletin boards throughout the school, making student-madecontent available online, or encouraging students to submit artifacts of learning to the local newspaper.Educators are also encouraged to invite feedback, be it from another class of students, membersof a social network, or individuals living in the community, because dialogue with parties outsidethe classroom often enhances the authenticity of learning exercises, justifies learning in the eyes ofstudents, and triggers students’ intrinsic motivation to learn about elections.Adaptation and Differentiation of LessonsThe lessons in this resource have are intended for students in Grades 5 to 12. It is difficult in such abrief resource to provide detailed instructions on how each activity might be adjusted for any particulargrade level. As teachers read through the activities, they are reminded that the lessons outline activitiesbut that each individual must decide upon the appropriate adaptations and instructional choices thatwill make the lesson effective for a particular group of students.Supplementary Online MaterialPlease visit www.studentvote.ca to download editable worksheets, glossary, background information,articles, and links to additional resources.Additional Stakeholder ResourcesAMCTO’s Elections Toolkithttp://www.amcto.com/db/elections2010.aspLocal Government Week Resource Kithttp://www.amcto.com/db/newsinfo.asp?it=727&itemid=12094&DataIT=&ListName=Running for Election as a School Trusteehttp://www.opsba.org/files/2010PreElectionGuide.pdfhttp://www.ocsta.on.ca/resources/1/Resources/RunningforElection-Trustee-Govt-March25.pdf Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections Activity Guide 3
  5. 5. 1: The Right to Vote in a DemocracyElections enable all citizens to have a voice in the people, values and actions that will shape theircommunity’s future.IntroductionThe inherent rights and responsibilities of citizens are key to a democratic government. A right is anabstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature. Anexample of a right we all have is the right to an education. With every right comes a responsibility. Aresponsibility is the social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demandedby that force. If we have the right to an education, then the responsibility we have is to work hard andrespect others’ right to learn.Democratic rights, which are guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, include theright for every Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, to vote in an election and be a candidate,and the requirement that federal and provincial governments hold elections at least every five yearsand that these governments meet at least every year. The right to vote comes with the responsibility tocast a ballot in an informed, purposeful manner.Students should understand and appreciate that the act of voting is a fundamental responsibilitystemming from Canadians’ democratic rights.Essential Questions • What are the characteristics of a democracy? • Why should voting be considered both a right and a responsibility? • How can I ‘have a voice’ in my community? • Why should I pay attention to elections now if I cannot legally vote?Hook 5-10 min.Have a conversation about making decisions. Use all or some of the following questions: • How many of you make decisions with your friends? What type of decisions do you make? Have you ever disagreed about what choices to make? How did you come to a decision or conclusion? • Have you ever voted for something before (e.g. MVP Student Council, Canadian Idol)? Speak , about the experience. How did you make your decision? Were you informed? Were you happy with the outcome?Essential Learning 20-25 min. 1. Review the concept of government. The role of government is to make decisions that will affect the people living in a community/province/country. 2. Explain how there are various types of government in the world and that different countries make decisions for their people in different ways. Canada is a parliamentary democracy. It is also a monarchy in that the Queen of England is our head of state. Review the three levels of government below and discuss the differences between types of government in terms of peoples’ rights and whether or not free and fair elections occur. • Democracy – government in which political power is retained by all the people. In a representative democracy, power may be delegated to selected (elected) representatives. • Dictatorship – government in which a ruler possesses absolute power. In a dictatorship, there are no regular, fair, and competitive elections. • Monarchy – government with a monarch at the head. 3. Review terms “right” and “freedom” and investigate the fundamental rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Handout 1.1). Focus on democratic rights and discuss the upcoming election. What is the responsibility associated with the right to vote? 4. Discuss how the Student Vote program will give young people, under the voting age, an opportunity to participate in a parallel vote coinciding with the local elections this October. 5. Using Handout 1.2, review the terms you have discussed and learned about the importance of voting in elections.4 Lesson 1 – The Right to Vote in a Democracy
  6. 6. Extended Learning (20-30min)Option A:Review the concept of universal suffrage. Create a timeline indicating key points in the history of thevote in Canada. • Confederation (1867) • Women’s right to vote (1918) • Denial of Japanese Canadian’s right to vote during WWII (1939-1945) • First Nations people on reserves win right to vote (1960) • Voting age lowered to 18 years of age (1970) • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes the fundamental right to vote (1982) • Bill to ensure access for people with disabilities to vote (1992)Option B:Brainstorm qualities of a healthy democracy, and use these characteristics to explain what a healthydemocracy looks like. Consider framing your explanation as a comic strip, dramatic presentation,essay, news article, oral presentation, photo essay, poster, or in another manner approved by yourteacher.Option C:Examine recent voter turnout statistics and voting trends (www.studentvote.ca). What conclusions canyou draw about the information – by year and by age group? As a class, hypothesize reasons for thesetrends and discuss possible solutions.Option D:Watch a video clip from The Rick Mercer Report: “Rick’s Rant – Voting 101.” As a class, create an outlinedetailing the important points of the video clip. The video clip questions politicians’ consideration ofstudents during election campaigns. Summarize how you can have a voice in your community andreflect upon the best way to make sure your vision for your community becomes a reality. Share yourconclusions with the class.Option E:Writing from the point of view of a teacher, mayor, or community leader addressing parents at yourschool, compose a letter or speech explaining why it is important for students to learn about elections.Consider performing this dialogue or sharing it with your family.Key Termsconstitution; democracy; dictatorship; election; government; informed; monarchy; participation;responsibility; right; vote; voter turnoutTeacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Preview websites and additional resources to be used for class activities (www.studentvote.ca) • Select extended learning activities and teaching strategies, if desiredHome ConnectionsEncourage students to ask their parents/caregivers about their own history of voting. Have theyalways voted? Why or why not? Do they remember their first time? If the family is new to Canada, adiscussion with parents about whether or not they had the right to vote in their previous country wouldbe beneficial.AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they are able to clearly define and give examples of rights,responsibilities, and democracy and that they are able to articulate why democracy is personallysignificant. Lesson 1 – The Right to Vote in a Democracy 5
  7. 7. Worksheet 1.1: Highlights from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms* This means that Canadians are free to worship the religion of their choice or to not worship at all.** This means that unless the media report something that is untrue, the media cannot be prevented from reporting anything thathappens inside Canada.*** This means that Canadians can meet as a group in private or public provided that it is done so in a non-violent and peaceful way.**** This means that Canadians have the right to associate or befriend anyone they choose and the government does not have the rightto limit these associations.For more information please visit: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/Reflection Question: What are some of the responsibilities that are associated with these rights andfreedoms?6 Lesson 1 – The Right to Vote in a Democracy
  8. 8. Worksheet 1.2: Voting in a DemocracyPart A: Different Types of GovernmentsWrite down your own definitions for democracy and dictatorship and explain what the right to vote meansunder each government. You may need the help of a friend, dictionary, encyclopedia or online resource.Part B: Rights and ResponsibilitiesFill in the statements below. You may need the help of a friend, dictionary, encyclopedia or onlineresource.A right is…A responsibility is…Voting is a right and a responsibility because…The next elections occurring in my community will be on… Lesson 1 – The Right to Vote in a Democracy 7
  9. 9. 2: The Structure of Government in CanadaCanada has three levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal. Each level of government hasits own elected representatives and areas of responsibility.IntroductionIn choosing a federal form of government, the Fathers of Confederation assigned particularresponsibilities to the different levels of government. However, public servants at all levels ofgovernment have been charged with the responsibility to reflect the desires of Canadian citizens. Thedivision of powers is found in Section 91-95 of the Constitution Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/const/index.html).It is important to understand that all municipal governments are created by their provincial government.The Government of Ontario is responsible for assigning Ontario municipalities with their powers andresponsibilities.Similarly, since the Constitution assigns responsibility for education to the provinces, the Governmentof Ontario has the power to create school boards in the province and assign their powers andresponsibilities. These are found in the Education Act.In order to participate in the Canadian democratic process as voters, students need to have someknowledge of the structure and responsibilities of the three levels of government. In preparation forthe upcoming elections, students should become well acquainted with the services provided by themunicipal government.Essential Questions • What are the three levels of government in Canada? • How is the Canadian citizen represented by each level of government? • What differences exist between the three levels of government?Hook 5-10 min.Independently make a list of the ways you think that government and school boards affect your life.Share your list with a classmate and together use a scale of 1 to 10 to rate the impact of governmenton your life (1 signifying little to no impact; 10 signifying enormous impact). Share your rating with therest of the class.Essential Learning 40-50 min. 1. Review the following terms: representative democracy, elected representative, geographic area. 2. Three levels of government have been established to order Canadian society: federal, provincial/ territorial, and municipal. Using Worksheet 2.1, identify the leaders of each level of government for your community as well as the location where each government is located. Consider conducting a webquest or using an encyclopedia to find the required information. 3. Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, stated that federalism provided “a general government and legislature for general purposes with local governments and legislatures for local purposes.” Using Handout 2.2, review the division of responsibilities among the three levels of government. Reflect on which level of government you feel impacts your day-to-day life the most. 4. Illustrate how government impacts nearly every aspect of Canadians’ lives by tracking your activities over the course of a day or week and relating these activities to a federal, provincial, or municipal government or school board responsibility. e.g. 7:00 am Eat breakfast at home Food standards and inspections (Federal/Provincial) 7:30 am Shower & brush teeth Water & Sewer (Municipal) 8:00 am Travel to school Roads/Transit (Municipal) 8:30 am Attend class Education (Provincial/School Board) Afterwards reflect back on the Hook Activity and determine if your opinion has changed regarding the relevance of government in your lives. Share your findings with your class. 5. Review what you have discussed and learned about the reasons for and functions of different levels of government and school boards.8 Lesson 2 - The Structure of Government in Canada
  10. 10. Extended Learning 10-20 min.Option A:Find a news story related to government in a local newspaper. Identify whether this story concernsmunicipal, provincial, or federal government. Highlight the words that tell you what level ofgovernment the story relates to. Summarize your news story for your class without identifying the levelof government involved. See if anyone can identify the level of government from the people, places orissues in the story.Option B:Choose an activity from Local Government Week Resource Guide (elementary and secondary versions)http://www.amcto.com/db/newsinfo.asp?it=727&itemid=12094&DataIT=&ListName=Option C:Select an area of responsibility that interests you from the municipal level of government. Useinformation from the corresponding municipal website to discover each municipal department’smandate as well as the principal activities of each municipal department. Share your findings with therest of the class.Option D:Imagine that you are considering running for public office. Consider and compare the advantages thateach level of government offers (power to shape society or community, ability to make people happy,personal interest in responsibilities, celebrity status, etc) in order to justify the level of government towhich you would prefer to be elected.Key Termsalderman; cabinet; council; councillor; elected representative, federalism; geographic area;government; House of Commons; Leader of the Opposition; Legislative Assembly; mayor; Member ofLegislative Assembly; Member of Parliament; Member of Provincial Parliament; ministry/department;municipality; Premier; Prime Minister; Provincial Parliament; reeve; representative democracyTeacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Book computer lab, if desired • Preview websites to be used for class activities, if desired (LGW Resource Guide and Additional Resources posted on studentvote.ca) • Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desired • Have selection of newspapers available to students, if desiredHome ConnectionsAsk students to have a discussion about the three levels of government in Canada. Potential questionsfor discussion: • What level of government do you think is the most important? And why? • What level of government impacts our family the most on a daily basis?” And how?AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they have the ability to differentiate between the differentlevels of government in Canada and that that they are able to apply their knowledge of the division ofgovernment powers. Lesson 2 - The Structure of Government in Canada 9
  11. 11. 10 Lesson 2 - The Structure of Government in Canada
  12. 12. Lesson 2 - The Structure of Government in Canada 11
  13. 13. 3: Municipalities & CouncillorsMunicipalities, which vary in their composition, are responsible to their constituents for the planning,growth, and safety of the community.IntroductionWith 444 municipalities in Ontario, the municipal level of government represents Canadian citizens’most local level of government, the level most associated with day-to-day life. The key features of amunicipality are: powers are assigned by the province, defined geographic area, elected council, andpower to tax.There are several terms that describe municipalities, such as counties, townships, regions, towns orcities. Regardless of the term, municipalities are classified as one of three types; single tier, lower tier, orupper tier. A single-tier municipality operates on its own, whereas lower and upper-tier municipalitieswork in conjunction, with one upper-tier municipality encompassing several lower-tier municipalities(e.g. Regional Municipality of Halton, County of Simcoe). This allows various municipal responsibilitiesto be shared amongst a group of smaller municipalities. Candidates can be elected to a lower-tieror upper-tier municipality directly or, in some cases, each lower-tier municipal council, once elected,determines which councillors will represent them on the upper-tier municipal council.The elected council is composed of a council leader or head of council, such as a mayor or reeve, andlocal representatives, such as councillors or aldermen. The heads of council are all elected at large(by all eligible voters in the municipality). However the other council members can be either elected atlarge or by a ward system, in which the municipality is broken down into smaller sections that vote fortheir own representatives. Municipalities may also use a mix of ward and at-large systems.Councillors govern the municipality by listening to concerns/directions from citizens, attendingmeetings, and making by-laws and decisions for the municipality. Employees of the municipality acceptthe direction of the council in managing the municipality.Essential Questions • What does a councillor do and what does a council do? • How is my municipality structured and how does it function? • How does a municipal council plan for a safe, sustainable community? • What are the election issues in my municipality?Hook 10-15 min.With a classmate, make a list of the five best things and five worst things about your municipality.Share your answers and discuss as a class.Essential Learning 40-50 min. 1. Review concepts from the previous lesson and the following terms associated with municipalities: council, councillor, mayor/reeve, single tier, upper tier, lower tier, at-large system, ward system. 2. Using Worksheet 3.1 and the information resources provided by your teacher, create a fact sheet about your municipality that details the municipality’s name, type, method of election, geographic boundaries, population, total budget, largest expenses, council members, major departments, and any interesting facts. Be sure to include maps that indicate where the municipality is located in Ontario and list the boundaries of your municipality. 3. Using Worksheet 3.2 and a variety of media sources, highlight potential issues in the upcoming municipal elections in your community. Identify common themes and try to determine the key issues for the campaign. 4. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about the significance, purpose, and functions of municipal government in Ontario.12 Lesson 3: Municipalities & Councillors
  14. 14. Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:Create a new logo, slogan and poster to advertise your municipality in 10 years. Compare your futurevision with the current vision of your municipality and determine what steps the newly elected councilshould take to achieve your vision.Option B:Invite a panel of involved members of your community (e.g. Block Parent representatives, seniors’residence representatives, athletics conveners, homeowners’ association president, spiritual leaders) tovisit your class or walk with your class through your community to highlight needs for the municipality.Compile the information you take from the meeting and share the results in a creative, unbiased formatthat can be viewed by members of the public.Option C:Using your municipal fact sheet and a list of standing committees in your municipality, developa probable schedule for a councillor in your municipality. Share your schedule with the class tosummarize how municipal councillors continue “to represent the public and to consider the well-beingand interests of the municipality” (Municipal Act, 2001, Part VI, Sec. 224) over the course of their termin office.Option D:Compare detailed budgets of two or more municipalities (one of which should be your own) sharingthe same categorization in order to identify trends in where financial resources are directed. Aftercomparing budgets, recommend at least three changes that you would like to see to the spendingpriorities in your municipality and explain how these changes would lead to the development of a safeand sustainable community. Consider rounding budget figures to make comparison of budget lineseasier (ie. to nearest million, to nearest ten thousand).Key Termsat-large system; budget; council; councillor; elected representatives; growth; infrastructure; lower-tiermunicipality; mayor; municipality; planning; reeve; safety; single-tier municipality; structure; upper-tiermunicipality; ward systemTeacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Print regional map of Ontario municipalities from http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page5383.aspx • Prepare information sources about students’ municipality for essential learning activities, including maps, visitor or tourist information, municipal council information, electoral information, and chamber of commerce information (see list of Additional Resources at www. studentvote.ca) • Review background information in the Local Government Week Resource Guide • Generate list of standing committees in students’ municipality • Book computer lab, if desired • Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desired • Select (and consider simplifying) municipal budgets for student examination, if desired • Organize meeting with municipal government representatives or arrange town city/town hall visit, if desiredHome ConnectionsEncourage students to have a family discussion about what their parents and siblings think the mostimportant challenge facing their municipality is today. Have a follow up discussion the next day and rankthe responses.AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they understand how municipal government and the work ofelected officials impact their life and the lives of other individuals in their community, and that theyunderstand how municipal officials are selected. Lesson 3: Municipalities & Councillors 13
  15. 15. 14 Lesson 3: Municipalities & Councillors
  16. 16. Lesson 3: Municipalities & Councillors 15
  17. 17. 4: School Boards & TrusteesSchool boards are responsible to students, teachers, parents, and the community for promoting studentachievement and well-being and providing education programs to prepare students for success in civilsociety.IntroductionSchool boards are the institutions responsible for providing education to their students using fundingthey receive from the province of Ontario. They are led by locally elected representatives knownas school trustees. Trustees are members of the board, not employees. They provide an importantlink between local communities and the school board, bringing the issues and concerns of theircommunities to board discussions and decision making.Trustees are elected every four years during municipal elections. Since the territories of many schoolboards include more than one municipality, the geographic area a trustee represents often includesmore than one municipality or more than one municipal ward. (Some school boards also use the term“ward” to refer to geographic areas they have established.) Each year, the trustees elect one of theirmembers to act as Chair of the school board.There are four types of publicly funded school boards in Ontario: 31 English public boards, 29 EnglishCatholic boards, four French public boards, and eight French Catholic boards. Additionally, there are10 school authorities established for schools located in hospitals and geographically isolated areas ofOntario. School boards are responsible for education leadership that supports student achievement,policy-making, financial oversight, and for assessing progress. The board of elected trustees selects andhires the Director of Education, who is responsible for the day to day management of the school boardthrough his or her staff. Trustees have no individual authority; the board of trustees makes decisions.Ontario is unique in that each school board also has one to three student trustees, elected each yearby students to represent them. Student trustees act as a link between students and the board. Studenttrustees are not board members but do have many of the same rights and responsibilities. Theyparticipate in board and committee meetings. Student trustees may suggest motions to advance issuesand may cast a non-binding vote.Essential Questions • What does a school board do and what does a school board trustee do? • How do trustees make an impact on education of students? • Who is my Student Trustee? • What are important issues in my school board?Hook 5-10 min.Imagine you could pick a team of individuals to decide: the number, size, and location of schools; theeducational programs that schools offered; the way that education funds were spent; the way thatteachers and staff were hired; and program priorities. Think about people you know of, have heard of,or have read about. What qualities would the individuals that you select possess?Essential Learning 45-50 min. 1. Review the following terms: school board, school authority, trustee, public board, Catholic board. 2. Using Handout 4.1 and additional resources, review the main functions and responsibilities of school boards. Use this information to compose a statement about the purpose of school board. 3. Using Worksheet 4.2 and the information resources provided by your teacher, create a fact sheet about your school board that details the board’s name, geographic boundaries, student population, total budget, largest expenses, trustees, sub-committees, number of elementary and secondary schools, and any interesting facts. Be sure to include maps that indicate where the school board is located in Ontario and the boundaries of your school board. 4. Using Worksheet 3.2 (from the previous lesson) and a variety of news sources, create a media portfolio to highlight potential issues in the upcoming school board elections in your community. Identify common themes and try to determine the key issues for the campaign. 5. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about the significance, purpose, and functions of school boards in Ontario.16 Lesson 4: School Boards & Trustees
  18. 18. Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:Identify what you think should be a priority of the newly elected school board by considering thefollowing questions: What is the best part of school? What is the worst part of school? What shouldschools be teaching? What are you not learning at school that you think you should? What could bedone to make school better? Use your answers to these questions and your knowledge of the powersof school boards to write a letter to the members of the newly elected school board that describes whatyou think should be a priority for the board for the next four years.Option B:Select three school board policies that directly impact students in your school board. Change eachpolicy so that it is to your liking, and describe how this change would affect students at your school(think of advantages as well as drawbacks). Use these examples to evaluate the overall significanceof decisions made by a board of trustees. Extension: Share your changes with the class and togetherselect five changes that should be adopted.Option C:In recent months, a number of educational commentators and experts discussed whether school boards arestill a necessary institution (See additional resources at www.studentvote.ca). Using these articles as well asyour knowledge of school boards in general and your school board in particular, construct an argument infavour of or in opposition to preserving elected school boards in Ontario.Option D:Compare the budgets of two or more neighbouring school boards (one of which should be yourown) in order to identify trends in where financial resources are directed. After comparing budgets,recommend at least three changes that you would like to see to the spending priorities in your schoolboard and explain how these changes would lead to improvements in students’ education. Considerrounding budget figures to make comparison of budget lines easier (e.g. to nearest million, to nearestten thousand).Key Termsagenda; board of trustees; geographic area; budget; district school board; Education Act; minutes;policy; procedure; trustee.Teacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Prepare information sources from your School Board for first essential learning activity, including maps, parent information, board of trustees information, and annual reports • Prepare information sources about school board functions and responsibilities for second essential learning activity, including board meeting agendas, board meeting minutes, school board budgets, board policies and procedures, and publications from OPSBA and OCSTA (see Additional Resources online at www.studentvote.ca) • Book computer lab, if desired • Preview websites to be used for class activities, if desired • Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desired • Select student-oriented school board policies for students to review, if desired • Select (and consider simplifying) school board budgets for student examination, if desiredHome ConnectionsAsk students to have a conversation with their families about their satisfaction with the performance oftheir previous school trustee and school board overall. What improvements could be made?AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they understand how school boards and the work of trusteesaffect their experience of school and that they understand how trustees are selected. Lesson 4: School Boards & Trustees 17
  19. 19. Worksheet 4.1 - The Role of a School BoardLeadership and Planning • Create a vision for education for the board; • Set goals – including goals for student achievement and well-being - and develop a plan to reach the goals; • Create a climate that will inspire administrators, educators, and students to realize that vision for education; • Work in partnership with the parent involvement committee and school councils; • Explain the policies and decisions of the board to parents and community residents and bring their views to the board; • Provide a link between public values and professional expertise; • Respond to local educational concerns;Promote Student Achievement and Well-being • Provide education programs that meet the needs of the school community, including needs for special education; • Set goals for student achievement; • Promote continuous improvement;Policy-Making • Develop policies to guide the system, on matters such as programming, communications, student safety, staff hiring; • Approve schools’ textbook and learning materials choices, based on the list of approved materials provided by the Ministry of Education; • Determine the number, size and location of schools;Monitoring and Evaluation • Monitor progress in reaching the board’s goals; • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the board’s policies; • Gauge public satisfaction with school board accountability; • Monitor and evaluate the Director of Education’s performance; • Ensure the board and schools abide by the Education Act and its regulations;Resource Allocation and Financial Oversight • Approve a balanced annual budget; • Allocate resources to support the board’s priorities and activities, including education programs for elementary and secondary school students, and the building and maintenance of schools; • Demonstrate financial accountability; • Lobby to secure adequate funding; • Develop partnerships to maximize resources;18 Lesson 4: School Boards & Trustees
  20. 20. Lesson 4: School Boards & Trustees 19
  21. 21. 5: Election Issues and CandidatesKnowledge of municipal/school board election issues and the local candidates is crucial for making aninformed decision on Election Day.IntroductionElection debate centers on ideas and arguments that will move a nation/province or local communityin a particular direction. Each elector and candidate will prioritize issues differently, depending onpersonal beliefs, values, needs and wants.Interaction with candidates might involve a direct discussion on the doorstep, attendance at apolitical rally or all-candidates’ debate, correspondence through mail, email, or social networks, orsimply reading up on a candidate and posing probing questions about their qualifications to lead amunicipality or school board. Purposeful interaction with a candidate can equip a voter with threecritical pieces of information: an impression of the candidate as an individual (“Would I want to hangout with this person?”); a nuanced understanding of a candidate’s intentions once in office (“Whatdoes this person hope to achieve by becoming elected?”); and evidence of success, leadership, or otherqualities that the voter is seeking in an ideal candidate (“What has this person done in the past to provethat this candidate is up for the job?”).Important note: Make sure you know the correct ward (if applicable) for your candidates.Essential Questions • What is the most important issue in the campaign to you? • Who are the candidates? • What are the differences between the candidates? • What candidates reflect my own beliefs?Hook 5 min.Brainstorm qualities that you look for in a leader by thinking about leaders that you know. Look at thepictures of municipal and school board election candidates and consider what you would want to knowabout them before selecting them to lead you.Essential Learning 20-40 min. 1. As a class, list the most important issues relating to municipality and/or school board. Consider news sources collected from Lessons 3 and 4, as well as discussions with family and friends, and any other media consumption. 2. Using Worksheet 5.1 and the resources provided by your teacher, create a profile for each of municipal and school board candidates that you will have the option of electing on Student Vote Day. Each profile should include the candidate’s name, political and related experience, and information about their campaign platform and significant promises or priorities. Consider dividing up the candidates amongst your classmates and share candidate profiles with one another. 3. Using the information provided in your candidate profiles and your knowledge of local election issues; prepare questions for each of the candidates that will help you to better evaluate each individual’s capacity to lead your community. Pose these questions via a letter, email, telephone call, interview, or at an all-candidates debate (See Handout 5.2 - Planning an All-Candidates Meeting). Afterwards, reflect on how interaction with candidates affected your perception of each individual. 4. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about knowing of and interacting with election candidates.20 Lessons 5: Election Issues and Candidates
  22. 22. Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:Create a poster for each candidate running for office in your municipality and school board to helpeducate students, teachers and parents in your school community. Use information collected in theEssential Learning Step 2. Post them in a visible location in the school or make presentations to classesthroughout the school.Option B:Before attending an all-candidates’ debate, establish a set of criteria by which candidates can beevaluated. What characteristics do you look for in a candidate? How should an ideal candidateperform in a debate? How will evidence of a candidate’s worth be observed and measured? Considerresearching past federal or provincial leaders’ debates in order to help identify some key characteristicsof a political leader or acting out how each of the characteristics you are looking for might appearduring the debate.Option C:Highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate running in your local municipal and schoolboard election in a creative way that can be shared with members of your community.Option D (Cases of acclamation):Invite the candidate who won by acclamation into your school for a dialogue session. Have adiscussion about the strengths and weaknesses of your community and/or school board, andopportunities and threats that lie ahead. Invite local media to attend and report the dialogue. Usesome of the tips from handout 5.2 to help organize the dialogue session.Key Termsacclaimed; acclamation; all-candidates’ debate; campaign plank; election platform; political experienceTeacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Locate local news articles, campaign materials, web and print commentary about the municipal and school board election candidates in your community for essential learning activities (see online Additional Resources at www.studentvote.ca for links to Ontario school boards and municipalities) • Book computer lab, if desired • Preview websites to be used for class activities, if desired (see Additional Resources at www. studentvote.ca) • Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desired • Organize municipal and school board all-candidates’ debates at your class or school, if desiredHome ConnectionsFamily discussion: In past elections, how well have you gotten to know each of the candidates. Do youmake an effort or do you rely on candidates to approach you?AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they have the ability to use the distinctions between candidates(such as purpose of campaign, election platform, personal connection to candidate) to judge the worthfor election of each candidate. Lessons 5: Election Issues and Candidates 21
  23. 23. Worksheet 5.1: Election Candidate Profile22 Lessons 5: Election Issues and Candidates
  24. 24. Worksheet 5.2: Planning an All-Candidates MeetingPreparation: • Consult with your administration regarding the event and review any related School Board policy. • Decide on time, date and location of meeting (remain flexible to accommodate candidates). • In larger communities, consider organizing event with another participating school or videotaping/podcasting/live-streaming the event to share with other schools in your riding. • Work with the Music Department or AV club to set up microphones for the candidates and questions from the audience.Invitations/Awareness: • Schools should invite all of the candidates to the meeting/debate. • Inform school staff of the meeting and encourage their students’ participation. • Contact local media to publicize and cover the debate. • Invite school and community representatives to view the event as an observer. • Post notices and information around the school to build excitement and interest. • Make it clear to students, staff and invited candidates that the school is not advocating one person over another- a non-biased or neutral debate/forum is what is being promotedFormat/Questions • Choose a moderator and establish an agenda and guidelines for the meeting. Invite a local community leader/journalist to host the debate. • Develop a format for the event and determine the length. a) Introduction – moderator introduces candidates and indicates meeting format. b) Opening Statements – candidates are given time to outline their platform and campaign promises. c) Format – decide on the type of questions, response length for each type and determine how many pre-determined questions there will be and when you will open the floor to the audience. d) Questions – decide what issues will be covered and who will ask the questions. e) Closing Statements – candidates will make concluding statements. f) Thank you – arrange for students to thank the candidates for coming. • Inform candidates and press about the details, format and duration (not the specific questions!). • Prepare some written questions ahead of time to ask candidates. Encourage other classes to submit questions and have your class pick the top 10 questions.Suggestions for the Debate: • Include some personal questions – Why did you decide to run? What makes you qualified for the job? What are you passionate about? • Ensure a respectful, non-partisan environment. Let students know expectations for their behaviour and participation. • If a candidate cancels or does not show up, respect their campaign schedule and ensure that students are aware that the candidate is running, but is unable to attend. • Invite parents or members from the community to the event. NOTE: This event is for students. Non-student audience members should NOT be asking questions. • If possible, provide time for students to talk with candidates after the meeting. • Students can take notes during the debate to review in class.Suggestions for hosting a dialogue session with an acclaimed candidate: • Invite the acclaimed candidate into the school to discuss their reason for wanting to have the position and their vision for the next four years. • Encourage the acclaimed candidate to hear from students about their own opinions regarding the opportunities and challenges facing their school board or community. Lessons 5: Election Issues and Candidates 23
  25. 25. 6: Preparing to VoteAn informed electoral decision is based upon personal priorities and information critically gathered andanalyzed from a broad range of sources, experiences, and interactions.IntroductionSome electors excuse themselves from voting so as not to make a ‘wrong decision’ at the ballot box.Many leave the responsibility to those they believe ‘know what they’re doing’. But why should anyoneallow someone else to make a decision for them? The informed voter needs to consider, “Who or whatam I supporting when I cast my ballot?” (The election of a candidate, specific issue, entire platform, orall of the above?).Essential Questions • Where do eligible voters find out when and where to vote? • What information am I using to inform my voting decision for a particular candidate? • In general, what should I know and/or have done before I vote?Hook 5-10 min.Have a class discussion and consider the following questions: After participating in these campaignactivities, do you think you know more about the election than your parents? Do you think the StudentVote results will be different than the official election results? Why or why not?Essential Learning 20-30 min. 1. Discuss how the election process works and preview what the ballot will look like on Student Vote Day. 2. Using Worksheet 6.1 and 6.2, review your personal values, experiences and developments during the election campaign, and your knowledge of each municipal and school board candidate in order to prioritize the candidates in order of their suitability to represent your vision for your community. 3. Propose how an individual might determine that they have enough information to make an informed decision as a voter. 4. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about the value of informed participation in elections.Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:Your actions and words can be a means of voting. When you buy a certain chocolate bar, shop at aparticular store, or choose one option from a selection of many, you are identifying that thing, place,or concept as more worthy than the other options. Select and act upon a way to express supportfor a particular candidate using your words or actions (e.g. initiate a political discussion with friendsor at home, post a lawn sign, participate in a rally, write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper,participate in a candidate’s election campaign).Option B:Use the items you have been collecting in your portfolio to evaluate the importance that class activities,personal values, election issues, and developments in the municipal and school board electioncampaigns have had on your decision to vote for a particular candidate.Option C:Develop an impartial pamphlet that an eligible voter could use to become knowledgeable about theissues, candidates, and campaign platforms for the upcoming election as well as appropriate methodsand locations for voting. Use this pamphlet as a tool to help an eligible voter prepare to vote andacquire the knowledge that every informed voter should demonstrate before casting a ballot.Key Termsinformed; priority; values24 Lesson 6: Preparing to Vote
  26. 26. Teacher Preparation • Select teaching strategies for essential learning activities • Make class copies of required handouts • Book computer lab, if desired • Preview websites to be used for class activities, if desired (see Additional Resources online at www. studentvote.ca) • Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desiredHome ConnectionsEncourage students to help prepare their parents for Election Day. They will need to know when, whereand how to vote, and what identification they need to bring.AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they have the ability to synthesize personal values, knowledgeof candidates, and knowledge of election issues in order to make an informed judgment as to thecandidate that would best represent the students’ personal vision for their community. Lesson 6: Preparing to Vote 25
  27. 27. 26 Lesson 6: Preparing to Vote
  28. 28. Lesson 6: Preparing to Vote 27
  29. 29. 7: Overall Activity: Planning for Student Vote DayA thoughtful election administration strategy is essential for ensuring that Canadians are ready, willingand able to participate in the electoral processEach municipality is responsible for organizing its own election. This is handled by the Municipal Clerk.This means that the process can vary from municipality to municipality.Students’ involvement in the organization of the Student Vote campaign is strongly encouraged, asit provides them with an educational and empowering experience that further engages them in thedemocratic process.Organizing your Election OfficeAs a class, take on the roles of an election office in order to administer the election for your school’sStudent Vote Day. Through your support and activities, you can help students outside of your classroomto develop a better understanding of the election process. Establish specific, measurable, attainable,realistic, time-oriented goals for voter turnout to post in your class and organize the following electiontask forces: • Communications: How can you inform students and teachers about Student Vote Day? What methods of communication are available? How can you develop interest in the campaign? How can you advertise importance of voting and the proper manner in which to cast a ballot (videos, morning announcements, posters)? • Voter Education: How can you inform students about election issues? Are there activities that you can organize to help educate the rest of the school? Is there literature that you can create and distribute? • Events: What types of events can you organize to develop interest in the campaign and inform students about the issues? Can you invite the candidates into the school to address student questions? • Operations: How should you organize Student Vote Day at your school? Who will take on the roles of elections officials? Should you incorporate advance voting? Will you use a voters list? Please refer 7.1 Operations Manual for Student Vote Day. • Media Relations: How can you engage local media in the school campaign (e.g. write a letter to the Editor of your local paper, conduct an opinion poll and share the results with local media)?In your task force, come up with a group plan by identifying problems and opportunities, defininggoals, exploring possible strategies, acting on the chosen idea, learning from the experience. Put yourgroup plan into action by posting activities and deadlines on a class calendar and working regularly onactivities throughout the election campaign.Suggested School-wide Activities • Establish a word wall of election terms on a hallway bulletin board. • Establish a campaign showcase on a hallway bulletin board to which election news can be continually added. • Establish a bulletin board in the staff room that connects local municipal and school board election issues to each subject area taught at the school. • Promote the library as an election campaign hub where students can gather to conduct research about local election issues, read election-related articles from print and online news providers, and participate in regular polls to identify key election issues. • Publish the products of election-related assignments in a format that is available to the public. (e.g. special editions of school newsletters, blogs, Flickr stream, Scribd, SlideShare, YouTube, class podcasts). • Invite classes to identify a municipal or school board election issue of personal significance and to regularly report of the election issue and consistently press candidates to discuss the issue. • Organize an all-candidates debate for your class, grade team, or school, assigning students to organize logistics, moderation and format of the debate, debate questions, media relations, and candidate services while they are attending the debate. • Invite any acclaimed candidates in for a dialogue session with students to discuss their role and priorities for the term ahead. • Recognize the winners of the Student Vote Day election as chosen by your school or as chosen by all of the schools in your municipality or school board.28 Lesson 7: Planning for Student Vote Day
  30. 30. 7.1: Operations Manual for Student Vote DayThere are several methods for running Student Vote Day at your school, but in all instances full schoolparticipation is strongly recommended. By practicing the act of making a decision and casting a ballotnow, students will be more prepared to study candidates and platforms in the future and will havea more informed understanding of their responsibilities as a citizen. Students’ involvement in theoperation of Student Vote Day is strongly encouraged, as it provides them with an educational andempowering experience that further engages them in the democratic process.Voting MethodsThe following voting methods have been detailed to assist you in the organization of your vote. Youmay choose to use one or more of these suggestions or to develop a method that works for your school.Method A: Homeroom Voting (in-class polling scenario)Before the school day begins, distribute ballots to all participating teachers and classrooms. At thebeginning of homeroom class, each teacher will hand out the ballots to students in her or his class.Students will vote immediately in class, and the teacher will collect the ballots shortly thereafter.Designated poll clerks will collect each class’ ballots before the end of the period, using either a ballotbox or envelope. All ballot boxes and/or envelopes will be taken immediately to a secure room, wherethe ballots can be counted immediately or later in the day.This method makes voting very quick and easy, as it is completed in minutes at the start of the day;however, students who are voting do not get the authentic experience of visiting a polling station.Consider providing an alternative voting option for students who do not have or attend homeroom atthe beginning of the day.Method B: Mobile Voting Station (in-class polling scenario)During the first period of the day, designated election officials will take voting stations from classroomto classroom. Generally, this method works well with three officials per group: one Deputy ReturningOfficer and two Poll Clerks. Students in a classroom will go in small groups to the mobile voting stationto cast their ballot. When every class has had an opportunity to vote, all ballot boxes will be taken to asecure room, where the ballots can be counted immediately or later in the day.This method of voting eliminates long lines, delays, and the disruption caused by moving an entire classto a new location; however, the time to collect ballots for the entire school can be an issue. Plan aheadto make sure that there are enough voting stations for all students to participate within the first periodof the day, and allow approximately 15 minutes for the mobile voting station to visit each classroom.Method C: Vote By Classroom (stationary polling scenario)Teachers will take their classes to the voting station(s) at pre-set times throughout the day. Anarrangement in which classes are called down by grade is suggested to help ensure that studentsdo not have the opportunity to vote more than once. When students arrive at the polling station,designated election officials will instruct them on where to line up in order to cast a ballot.This method of voting allows for an authentic experience of visiting a polling station. Consider offeringmore polling booths and/or polling stations in order to process the number of students in the timeallotted; alternatively, consider arranging for classes to vote over a number of days to ensure that allstudents have the opportunity to participate.Method D: Voting on Own Time (stationary polling scenario)Polling stations will be open all day long, and students are only able to vote on their own time. Whenstudents arrive at the polling station, designated election officials will tell them where to line up in orderto cast a ballot.While it is the most authentic, this method of voting often leads to a lower voter turnout and floodsof voters in short periods of time, such as between classes and during lunch. Consider offering morepolling booths and/or polling stations in order to be prepared for high voter traffic. For legitimacy,the use of a Voters List (see below) is also strongly suggested for this method as a means to preventstudents from voting more than once. Lesson 7: Planning for Student Vote Day 29
  31. 31. Roles of Designated Election OfficialsSince election roles differ from municipality to municipality, the following roles are suggested, as perother Student Vote programs: • Deputy Returning Officers (DROs) are the officials responsible for conducting the student election and counting the votes. They are the only officials allowed to handle the ballots during the counting process. • Poll Clerks are the individuals who staff the polling stations. They are responsible for crossing voters off the Voters List, distributing ballots, and collecting ballots. When the voting process is complete, the Poll Clerks assist the Deputy Returning Officers by totaling the ballots counted and filling in the provided tally sheet. • Scrutineers are generally individuals appointed by a candidate to act as an observer of the election process on voting day. In the case of the Student Vote program, the Team Leader appoints Scrutineers. Scrutineers may also be present when ballots are counted, but they may not handle the ballots in any way. • Team Leader: Official liaison between the school and Student Vote (not a student).Notes for Assigning Roles • In schools that select one of the in-class voting scenarios, consider sharing the election official roles among several classes. One class might take on the role of poll clerks and be responsible for traveling between classes with the ballots and ballot boxes, while another class might take on the role of deputy returning officers, poll clerks, and scrutineers responsible for the counting process. • In schools utilizing one of the stationary voting scenarios, consider assigning the same group of students to be the election officials for the entire day or allowing several teams of students to alternate throughout the day. The latter approach will allow more students to be involved and have a hands-on experience with the election. • Some schools may wish to invite parents or other members of the community to volunteer as election officials for Student Vote Day. Arrange any volunteers well in advance of Student Vote Day in order to ensure that there will be enough individuals to staff the polling station(s). School guidelines regarding visitors and/or volunteers should be followed if parents or members of the community are to be invited into the school.Creating & Using a Voters ListA Voters List is recommended when using a stationary polling scenario to provide realism and to ensurethat students do not vote multiple times and cast doubt on the results. This list will include the names ofall students registered at the school and must be compiled internally by authorized staff and the TeamLeader. A Voters List is also an option for in-class polling scenarios but is not necessary. An extra copyof the class attendance sheet is a simple way to create the Voters List for each class.As with an actual Voters List, when a student enters the polling station and is handed a ballot, the PollClerk will cross off the name of the student to indicate that she or he has participated in the election.Consider asking students to practice the new obligation that requires voters to provide identification atthe polling station (e.g. student card, driver’s license).BallotsStudent Vote ballots are distributed after the close of nominations. Participating schools should expectto receive ballots a few days before the Student Vote Day. Student Vote ballots will include the nameof local candidates running in your municipality and school board. Please make sure that you haveprovided the correct municipality information upon registering or have updated this information prior toballot printing.It is strongly recommended that the Team Leader or an appointed Deputy Returning Officers initial thereverse side of each ballot prior to the commencement of Student Vote Day, which will verify the officialStudent Vote ballots for your school.Election ChecklistYou will need the following items for Student Vote Day:Ballots; ballot boxes; desks; highlighter; pencil sharpener; pencils; ruler; seals or tape; statement of poll(reporting form); tally sheets; voters list; voting screens.30 Lesson 7: Planning for Student Vote Day
  32. 32. Student Vote Day Election RequirementsRegardless of the voting method you select, the following is a list of requirements for Student Vote Day.A. Rules • No campaign materials are permitted in the polling station or on those who work at the polls. This is to ensure a completely impartial environment. • If the local media wishes to do a story on your school’s participation in Student Vote Day, please follow your school board’s policy regarding members of the media on school property. Consider distributing a media release to students before Student Vote Day if you anticipate that the media may visit. • If any other member of the public comes to your school curious about Student Vote Day, deal with them in the same manner that you would with any visitor entering the school on any other day.B. Sealing the Ballot Box • Once the ballot box is folded together, the Deputy Returning Officer will show the inside of the empty box to the Poll Clerks and Scrutineers, so that all of the election officials present can verify that the box is empty; • The ballot box will be sealed using tape or seals; • The seals will be initialed by the Team Leader to show that she or he has authorized the ballot box for use at a polling station.C. Receiving a Ballot at the Poll • When a voter requests a ballot at the poll, the Poll Clerk will fold a ballot into thirds, thereby concealing the front of the ballot, or the side with the candidates’ names, from observers; • The Poll Clerk will verify that the ballot has been initialed and will hand the folded ballot to the voter; • The voter will take the ballot behind a voting screen to unfold the ballot in private, mark the ballot as she or he chooses, and refold the ballot before leaving the polling screen; • The voter will take the marked ballot to the Poll Clerk monitoring the ballot box; • Without unfolding the ballot, the Poll Clerk will verify that the Team Leader’s initials are visible on the ballot; • The Poll Clerk will return the verified ballot to the voter, who will put the ballot in the ballot box; • In the event that a voter tears a ballot or makes a mistake on her or his ballot, the voter may return the ballot and request a new one. The first ballot will be declared a spoiled ballot, and it will be kept with other spoiled ballots and not placed in the ballot box.D. Counting the Ballots • The polls will be declared closed at a pre-determined and advertised time, after which nobody may cast a vote; • The Team Leader will verify that each ballot box is still sealed by the tape that she or he initialed before the polls opened and that neither the box nor the seal has been tampered with; • The tape will be broken, and the Deputy Returning Officers and Poll Clerks will open the box in order to count the ballots, but others may be present to observe that the process is completed fairly; • The ballots will be separated, counted, and recorded as Valid, Rejected, or Spoiled; • A VALID ballot is one that is properly marked for one candidate; • A REJECTED ballot is one that was placed in the ballot box but is declared invalid by the Deputy Returning Officer because it was not properly marked; • A SPOILED ballot is one that was kept separate and never placed in the ballot box because it was mistakenly marked or torn and exchanged for a new ballot; • Any questionable ballots will be left to the Team Leader to categorize according to the criteria describing a properly marked ballot (see below); • Results will be filled out using the Statement of the Poll; • Ballots will not be counted again unless the Team Leader orders a recount to confirm the totals; • Consider using a Tally Sheet to assist in the tabulation of votes. Lesson 7: Planning for Student Vote Day 31
  33. 33. E. Properly Marked BallotsValid Ballot: To be counted for a candidate, a ballot must clearly indicate the preference of the voter. Avoter may mark her or his ballot in any way that she or he chooses in the circle next to the name of thecandidate.The following examples have been provided to demonstrate a properly marked ballot: • The voter uses a checkmark; • The voter marks an X; • The voter uses another type of mark; • The voter shades the circle.Rejected Ballot: A ballot will not be counted towards any candidate when it does not clearly indicatewhom the voter is selecting.The following examples have been provided to demonstrate a rejected ballot: • The voter marks for more than one candidate. This applies even if different symbols are used for different candidates, such as a checkmark for one candidate and an X for another; • If the voter does not mark the ballot in any way; • If the voter marks the ballot in a way that identifies who the voter is.F. Statement of the Poll (Reporting Form)The Team Leader will complete the Statement of the Poll, which is an accounting of all the ballots thatwere provided for Student Vote Day. This accounting includes the number of valid ballots cast, rejectedballots, spoiled ballots, and any unused ballots. The Team Leader will verify the results and sign off onthe report. This form will constitute the official result of the election at your school and will be requiredwhen submitting results to Student Vote.G. Media RelationsWhile it is not necessary to contact the media regarding Student Vote Day, media contact is an optionthat you may wish to consider. Always remember to consult your school board’s policy regardingmembers of the media on school property. Numerous media outlets will be interested in coveringStudent Vote Day at schools and taking pictures on Student Vote Day. If you are interested in mediaattention for you and your students, please contact the Student Vote office to be put on a list ofinterested schools willing to be contacted by the media.Alternatively, you and your students can contact members of the media and make your ownarrangements: • Consider developing a working partnership early on – reporters tend to enjoy tracking the progress of one school in their community; • Consider inviting the media to different Student Vote events or activities that you are holding throughout the election campaign; • Consider asking editorial staff to print articles or op-ed pieces written by students.Please remember that no matter how close a relationship you form with the media, you cannot divulge theresults of your school election! Results will be handled by Student Vote only. Student Vote will distribute theresults to media partners for broadcast on Election Night and for publication the following day.H. Confidentiality of ResultsThe Student Vote program mirrors the actual voting process in Canada. Just as adults may voteconfidentially at advanced polls or at different times on an election day, all Student Vote Day resultsare kept confidential until the polls are closed. We ask that you and your students keep your school’sStudent Vote results confidential until the results are announced publicly after 8:00pm on October 25,2010. This confidentiality is very important to ensure that results are released at the appropriate timeand do not interfere with the official election in any way. There has been some concern that an earlyrelease of results could influence the outcome of the election.We hope that you can also understand the importance of teaching students about the process and that youwill adhere to these guidelines. Any school that releases the results of its election early will be removedfrom the Student Vote tallies and will be indefinitely suspended from participating in future programs.32 Lesson 7: Planning for Student Vote Day