Stuyvesant Hosts 2022 Midterm Mock Election
Issue 7, Volume 113
Stuyvesant’s social studies department held the 2022 Midterm Mock Election on November 3, 2022. Organized by social studies teacher Linda Weissman, the election allowed the student body to vote on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as on laws, during the first five minutes of their scheduled social studies classes. The ballot closed at 10:00 a.m. on November 4, and the results of the mock election were announced on November 7.
In summary, the results of the mock election skewed heavily to the left. Chuck Schumer and Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, got 81.5 percent of the vote for the Senate race and 67.6 percent of the vote for New York State (NYS) Governor, respectively. Democrats Antonio Delgado (NYS Lieutenant Governor), Thomas P. DiNapoli (Comptroller), and Letitia James (Attorney General) all got over 70 percent of votes. Referendums including the Environmental Bond Measure, Racial Equity Office, and Charter Preamble Amendment all received over 80 percent in favor.
Prior to the election, students were given a document prepared by Weissman’s AP Government students, detailing all candidates’ contact information, policies, political affiliations, and political backgrounds. “We put together information on each of the candidates, made a nice little packet, and sent them to each student a few weeks before. We involved every social studies teacher,” Weissman said. “We sent them a packet in case they wanted to share it with the class and talk about the election.”
Around 400 freshmen, 600 sophomores, 500 juniors, and 400 seniors participated in the mock election. Though the number of students who voted only represented a fraction of the student population, this year’s increase in voter turnout was due to the introduction of a virtual voting system. “The turnout rate was higher than we expected, with a little over 50 percent of the school voting,” senior Erica Li, who was one of the student organizers, said. “Last year [in 2021], the turnout was much lower.”
After official midterm results were released, students felt that Stuyvesant’s mock election reflected the actual elections. “In the mock election, representative Lee Zeldin received 32.4 percent of the vote for Governor of New York in a traditionally liberal electorate,” sophomore Muhib Muhib said. “It just so happens that Zeldin lost by five points, one of the closest results in New York in a long time. So the mock election, you could say, foreshadowed the actual election results.”
Some teachers shared the same sentiment of how the mock election results were a good indicator of the actual election, showing a general shift in the political landscape in Stuyvesant and New York City (NYC). “Lee Zeldin [doing] as well as he did even in a place as blue as Stuyvesant shows what actually ended up happening, which is that the Republicans, even though they didn’t capture the governorship, took a number of seats in Congress,” social studies teacher Matt Polazzo said. “There’s increasingly, I think, a rightward move in a lot of New York City residents, even here in Stuy.”
Many attribute the rightward trend in Stuyvesant and NYC to rising crime and violence, especially toward the Asian American community, which makes up a large majority of the student body. “In a lot of people, there’s a perception that the city has gotten more dangerous and that it’s more disorderly. I also believe that a lot of Asian people feel particularly targeted as victims of violence and crime,” Polazzo said. “I think that the polls we have for the post election have indicated that a lot of Asian communities are trending Republican as a consequence [...] That may not be the entire story but I think that certainly is one part of it.”
Regardless of election results, many students saw the mock election as an opportunity to further involve themselves in the political world. “Honestly, I know me and a lot of other people had no idea what’s going on with the elections,” sophomore Prajusha Azeem said. “Politics impacts your everyday life and the rights you have. You should be aware of what’s happening in [...] the political world just so you understand what’s going on in current events.”
Furthermore, many students believed the mock election created a very informative environment, especially for those not politically up-to-date with current events. “I'm not that informed about politics, so in some of the questions I had no idea who to vote for,” sophomore Brandon Waworuntu said. “[But the teachers] gave us the document and it was very informative, with each of the politicians and what they do.”
Teachers also acknowledged that the mock election served as a start for students to familiarize themselves with politics for when they get older. “It’s always nice for students to have an opportunity to voice their opinion about the election, even if it isn’t an actual vote,” Polazzo said. “It is kind of like a practice for voting for real when students are actually old enough to do so.”
Overall, through hosting the 2022 Stuyvesant Mock Election, teachers expressed the importance of political involvement in the functioning of society, encouraging students to make their opinions count. “Sometimes we fall into a trap of saying that we live in New York, we’re in a blue state, and we don’t need to vote,” Weissman said. “But what I hope we get out of voting is the importance of how local elections, state elections, and national elections make a difference.”
The aggregate responses to the form are shown below, to see the full breakdown click here