Stuyvesant Holds Mock Elections for NYC Officials
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Stuyvesant held a school-wide mock election from October 25 to November 1, to coincide with Election Day on November 2. The election pertained to citywide positions, including the mayor, public advocate, and comptroller. Students also voted on ballot proposals regarding the appointment and redistricting process, the right to clean air and a healthy environment, advance voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. This year’s mock election was conducted over a Google Form, similarly to that of the 2020-2021 election. However, this year’s voter turnout was lower than that of previous years, with the form garnering a total of 492 responses.
According to the results of the form, the Democratic party candidates won by an overwhelming majority in the mock election, with Eric Adams receiving 62.4 percent of votes for the mayoral position, Jumaane D. Williams receiving 77.1 percent of the votes for public advocate, and Brad Lander receiving 78.2 percent of the vote for comptroller. These results were consistent with students’ expectations and mirrored the landslide victories of Adams, Williams, and Lander in New York City’s elections. “[Stuyvesant] is a pretty progressive school. Though we do have [...] conservative students, there’s a pretty vocal progressive majority,” senior Nour Kastoun said. “I did expect [the] Democratic party candidate to win.”
The mock election form was created by two of history teacher Linda Weissman’s AP US Government and Politics students, Kastoun and Madison Cheng. “Every year, we do this citywide election thing at [Stuyvesant, and Weissman asked us if] anyone [wanted] to help [...] make the ballot,” Kastoun said. “We volunteered, and so she gave us the information [and] what she had in mind for the online ballot.”
Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram was responsible for sending out the form to the student body. “Sending the form to students is just another aspect of my role here in communication, and [I am] happy to assist Ms. Weissman in this important lesson for students,” Ingram said in an e-mail interview.
This year, the mock election was administered through a form out of convenience instead of conducted in-person. “Previously, the vote was done in classrooms in social studies. During COVID, it had to be conducted electronically, but it seems that results are simpler to tabulate, and the department stuck with it this year in a school wide e-mail and collection,” Ingram said.
The low voter turnout of this year’s mock election raised concerns regarding political apathy among the student body. “The turnout was kind of what I expected,” Kastoun said. “Political apathy is a pretty big thing at Stuy, which is part of the reason why we do this, right?”
Some students expressed that their disengagement stemmed from the fact that they did not feel informed enough about the candidates to cast a ballot. “I didn’t feel as if I was educated enough,” sophomore Henry Ji said. “I didn’t feel like having to do all the research the night beforehand, so I just decided not to vote because I wouldn’t have an informed vote.”
Some students cited the conventional results of the mock election as a reason for the election’s low voter turnout. “It’s not like anything is actually impacted by it, and it’s not like you get anything done. A Democratic school has elected a Democratic mayor, what a surprise,” Ji said.
Despite the low voter turnout and student body apathy, many students still acknowledge the importance of a mock election in educating students about government positions and promoting involvement in politics. “It’s important to [...] be aware, politically informed citizens [...] And exercising our rights to vote is [...] a very big deal,” Kastoun said. “Hopefully, it’ll help get more people involved [in politics].”
Students and teachers alike continue to emphasize the importance of being politically aware. “The mock election is [...] a fantastic lesson in civics, politics and understanding our election system,” Ingram said. “Considering how their choices impact the future and considering the views of these politicians [are] very important for students.”