Do Sharon Students Know Their Local Politics?—Poll Says No

By: Jack Conlon—Correspondent

The primary elections for governor in Massachusetts have come and passed, but despite the importance of this election, many SHS students are unaware of the winning candidates.

The MA primaries took place on September 6th with the results coming in later that day. SHS students were polled about their understanding of the election and its winners about a week after the results were out. Governor plays a vitally important role in the Massachusetts government but the poll shows that SHS students aren’t as informed as they should be.

Maura Healey was the winning candidate for the Democratic party. “I am honored to receive the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts. Together, we’re going to win in November and build a Massachusetts that works for everyone,” she said in a tweet after her win.

Geoff Diehl was the winning Republican candidate. “We believe every Bay Stater yearns for a Commonwealth that respects their rights and freedom, practices fiscal responsibility, promotes prosperity and free enterprise, and empowers parents to have a voice in their kids’ education,” he said in an open letter tweeted after his win.

Healey swept the Democratic race winning 85.6% of the party’s votes. Diehl won by a closer margin of 55.5% of the Republican votes. For Healey, the results are much the same in Sharon. But for Diehl, Sharon’s votes reflect a slightly different story—50.5% of Republican voters in Sharon cast for the opposing candidate Chris Doughty. 

But at SHS a different kind of poll went around—one meant to determine how knowledgeable students were about their local elections. 107 students were asked if they knew the names of the candidates who won the election. 

Only two students out of the 107 polled confidently knew both the Democratic and Republican candidates. Seven students knew only the Democrat, and one student knew only the Republican. Every other student did not know either candidate—about 91% of the SHS student body. 

The results show that the SHS students polled did not have a full grasp on their local politics. But despite many students not being currently eligible to vote, there still is a reason to care about the politics around you.

AP Government teacher Ms. Courtnay Malcolm says that local elections hold more importance than their federal counterparts. “In so many ways local elections are much more important [than federal elections]—your vote has more meaning, and local offices have a lot more control over your daily life than national elections do,” she said.

Malcolm’s advice to students interested in getting involved in local politics is this: “[Students] should attend school committee meetings if they really want to understand how local governing bodies have power over them,” she continues:“Be informed, ask questions, canvas for a candidate, work as an intern for your local official, state reps or congressional representatives,” she said.

When students become eligible they should vote—for federal and local elections alike. It’s vitally important for students to stay informed about the politics that are around them. Their lives are influenced every day by these types of elections.

“Whenever students DON’T exercise their right to vote they are disrespecting all the thousands of Americans who fought and died for the privilege of casting a ballot,” said Malcolm.

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