Pupils to hold mock ballot

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North-east secondary pupils are to stage a mock poll a year before the independence referendum.

Aberdeenshire Council and Grampian Electoral Registration Office are to help youngsters set up, contest, and hold their own ballot.

Pupils will learn all about the issues involved and all sides of the debate, before casting their own vote on September 17-18.

Many of them will be able to take part in next year’s referendum.

The results of the schools ballot will be returned a year to the day before the national poll.

The council’s education, learning and leisure committee earlier this year welcomed the project.

Councillors heard the authority had previously conducted major schools elections, and the committee has given strong support for continuing the approach.

Of pupils who took part in schools elections in 2011, 76% said they had a better understanding of the importance of voting as a result, with 60% supportive of similar events before each major election, and 47% said they were more interested in politics and current affairs.