By: Audrey Trivedi — Correspondent
During the presidential election, students and faculty at Sharon High School voted in a mock election. The survey and results were compiled by Sharon social studies teacher Mr. Sean O’Reilly. The results of this election revealed that the majority of Sharon students and staff voted for former Vice President Biden.
Although Biden won with 79.6% for students and 87.1% for staff, social studies teacher Hannah Cohen says, “we often forget that this is a diverse town in many ways beyond culture and religion and that includes political affiliation.”
O’Reilly says that nothing from both the town of Sharon election and the Sharon High School mock election results were shocking. Cohen agreed saying that the results of the election were expected but what surprised her was “the huge gap between student support for Question 2 and the overall state support.”
Ballot Question 2 was regarding ranked choice voting which means that voters rank their candidates in order of desire to ensure that the candidate with the largest support from the most people is elected. It also makes sure that every person’s voice is heard, so if they voted for a candidate with no chance to win, their next choice vote will be accounted for instead. 60% of students at SHS voted yes for Question 2; however, the state of Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted down this question.
Although the students and staff of SHS voted similarly to the town of Sharon, the staff had a larger difference in votes. The votes from the student body reflected the votes from the town. “Students are more likely to align with their parents’ beliefs,” Cohen said.
Sharon High School voted for Biden by 5% more than the town. O’Reilly said, “young people are more liberal/Democratic which I think probably accounts for the 5% difference.”
In comparison to Massachusetts Sharon voted for Biden by about a 10% higher margin than Massachusetts, but both still voted for Biden. “Sharon is a good reflection for this part of the state, but one of the things that has become increasingly clear in state politics is that there is a widening gap between eastern and western Massachusetts politically,” said Cohen.
Sharon has always tended to be a Democratic left-leaning town. O’Reilly says that one should be cautious when analyzing the reasons behind votes as it could take weeks or months for political scientists to analyze the exit polls. He adds that there were large issues with polling this year, and exit polls were worse, so it may take time to correctly analyze voters’ decisions.
Cohen says that individual encounters with government policies is a large reason for why people may vote the way they do. She added that people tend to weigh different issues such as tax reform or health care differently, so they are already decided when they go to vote.
“The fundamental question we were grappling with in this election is what the most important problems are that America is facing and what is the best approach to deal with them,” Cohen said.