Council asserts ‘the write to vote’ during Democracy Week

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Primary pupils in Mid and East Antrim Borough will have the chance to exercise the right to vote as part of the council’s Democracy Week plans.

Pupils from Ballycarry Primary School lobby an undecided voter in advance of the Top Children’s Author elections. The school is one of 14 taking part in the Democracy Week initiative across the Borough.

The Democracy Week events, which take place from 4 to 8 March 2024, will include an election in local primary schools for the Top Children’s Author in Mid and East Antrim.

And several big names have agreed to have their names on the ballot paper, including J. K. Rowling OBE (Harry Potter series), Dara McAnulty BEM (Diary of a Young Naturalist) and Francesca Simone MBE (Horrid Henry novels).

They will be joined by local authors Ellen Rankin (The Secret Elephant) Paddy Donnelly (The Vanishing Lake), Liz Weir (Boom-chicka-boom, Boom-chicka-boom), Hilary Bailey (the Skye Springer novels) and Angeline Kelly (Children of Latharna).

Schools that have signed up to the unique event will have information on the authors provided to them in advance, with election posters, printed ballot papers and a polling station on their premises, with voting planned for a Thursday and the ballots being counted by pupils from local schools on the Friday at Council headquarters at the Braid, assisted by staff from the Democratic Services department.

The aim is to make the pupils aware of the workings of democracy, from the hustings to polling day, and the election count and result announcement.

The plan is also to prompt discussion in class about favourite authors and hopefully encourage further reading.

The authors themselves have forwarded messages for each pupil taking part in the poll and over 1,500 pupils will be entitled to vote in P5, P6 and P7 classes in the 14 schools which signed up for the unique election.

When the polling closes the ballot boxes will be sealed and brought to the Braid count centre in Ballymena, where they will be counted on Friday 8 March.

Pupils from Carniny Primary and St. Colmcille’s Primary will be counting the ballots, assisted by staff from the council’s Democratic Services department and it is hoped the result will be declared officially by 1pm that day.

The authors election is just one of the events planned for Democracy Week 2024.

Others will include a visit by Mayor Gerardine Mulvenna to the primary school she attended as a child, Seaview Integrated, in Glenarm.

There will also be a unique exhibition of political and civic artefacts planned for Carrickfergus Museum, a fun table quiz, a bus tour around historical sites with a political connection and a keynote address on a democratic theme.

Further details on the events of Democracy Week can be provided by contacting: