Thousands of school students across Auckland will lead the way for the future of computer voting when they take part in the 2013 local body elections next week.
More than 8000 year 7-10 students from 45 schools have registered to take part in Auckland Council's Kids Voting programme - the only one of its kind in New Zealand and the first to take place online.
Their vote will not officially count but they will get a taste of democracy in action between September 23 and 27 when they log on to choose a mayor, councillors and local board members.
In the run-up to the election, they're being encouraged to discuss the issues and candidates with friends and family to develop an understanding of why they should vote when they turn 18.
But Kids Voting has taken on extra significance this year with news the Government is set to trial full online voting in 2016.
"We are delighted that so many Auckland students are engaging with the Kids Voting programme," council community development project leader Jan Ziegler-Peri says.
"But it's equally exciting to know that by taking part they will be a step ahead in terms of finding out how online voting works and how easy it is to use. Hopefully, we will see the benefit of that by capturing many of them as fully fledged young voters in future."
Full Kids Voting results will be available after the official local body elections on October 12 to show how the two votes compared.
Students will also answer a referendum question on whether lifejackets should be compulsory for children aged 16 and under on boats less than six metres in length.
That feedback will be fed into a wider public consultation process on navigation and boat safety bylaws expected to start early in 2014.
Full details of how to vote at the 2013 local body elections and profiles of the 470 candidates standing for mayor, councillor and local board member positions can be found at voteauckland.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you wear a lifejacket when you are on the water - no matter what vessel you are in?