In an effort to increase voter participation among young people, numerous high schools in Iceland will be holding mock elections this Thursday, RÚV reports. Parliamentary elections are scheduled in Iceland October 29.
During the 2014 local government elections in Iceland, voter turnout was the lowest among voters aged 20-24. Inger Erla Thomsen, head of the student association at Menntaskólinn á Laugarvatni high school, commented, “The political discussion is so negative, which affects young people and discourages them from participating.”
Mock elections are an effort to fight that trend. Out of the country’s 30 high schools, 25 participate in the project, including 13,000 registered mock voters. In the week prior to the elections, a so-called democracy week, teachers are encouraged to discuss politics in class. In some schools, panel discussions are on the agenda, where politicians are invited to participate.
“We’ve got to cultivate a democratic awareness among young people, and we must realize that democracy matters to us, just as it matters to all others in the country,” Inger remarked. She is convinced that those who take part in mock elections will also vote on election day. “I believe this helps people form an opinion,” she stated.
Mock election results won’t be made public until election day, October 29.