In order to generate an interest in politics, as a staff we decided to run a poll in the Centre based on the North Kildare constituency.
Classes were set aside to impress upon the students the importance of voting and discussions were held on each of the constituency’s candidates. The students also used whichcandidate.ie to select the candidates that best suited their own attitudes on a range of political issues. The process of PR was explained, in addition to how quotas were calculated and how a count was organised.
Polling information cards were issued. A ballot box and a reproduction of the polling card were created. Polling took place on election day itself. The staff acted as polling and count officials but the counters themselves were taken from the student body.
It took five counts to elect the four North Kildare TDs. As with the actual election, Catherine Murphy was elected on the first count, however, the three remaining candidates elected were at odds with the actual electorate, being Aisling Merriman; Reada Cronin and Maebh Ni Fhalluin.
The students enjoyed their experience of voting and we believe it was a valuable exercise in that they are now prepared for casting a vote. As a postscript, three students who recently became eighteen have subsequently registered to vote.