Democracy in Action

What is it?

Democracy in Action is an ongoing civics engagement project in which the CCYP is partnering with the Centre of Democracy and the Electoral Commission SA to strengthen young people’s participation in society so they can affect change by being engaged citizens.


The project came from one of the major findings from Commissioner Helen Connolly’s 2017 Listening Tour. During the tour Helen consistently heard from South Australia’s young people that they want more opportunities in civics engagement. The projects aims to pre-enrol 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote once they turn and 18 and to promote the idea that 16 and 17 year olds should be able to voluntarily vote in local, state and national elections  to have a say in the policies and decisions that affect their lives.


A mock election that coincided with South Australia’s State Election was held on Saturday 17 March 2018. It involved 336 young people filling out a ballot for either the electoral district of Adelaide or Waite. The issue they were voting on was whether the voting should be lowered to 16 years.

This helped the young people participating to become familiar with the voting booths and ballot boxes, demystifying the actual process of voting, so that they had a better understanding of what was involved on the day. It also included information on pre-enrolment whereby young people who are turning 18 years can pre-register to vote and thereby be on the electoral role well ahead of closing dates.

It was a unique opportunity for young people to come together in a practical way to learn about how democracy works around an issue they care about – the voting age.

The mock election was video-recorded by the ABC Behind The News program and can be viewed via the following links with access to a full transcript included.  (First Story) (Results) (Accompanying Teacher Research for class discussion)

You can also download and read the Democracy in Action project report here!

Find out more about Democracy in Action