Mock elections vs. Actual elections

Abby Williams, Reporter

Millions of citizens across America exercise their right every four years when the presidential election rolls around. People of all ages, from people who just turned 18 to people well into their 70s and 80s, can vote to choose who they would like to elect as president.
Utica High School hosts a mock election every year to encourage students to participate in the democratic process.
This year, students received an email on October 30th inviting them to participate in the mock election. Polls could be filled out anonymously and were open until November 3rd.
Students were asked to choose between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, as well as to answer what topic mainly persuaded them to choose their candidate. These reasons ranged from the economy to the Supreme Court, similar to what influences adult voters.
“I think the mock elections are a good idea,” sophomore Sophia LaBrecque said. “It gives students an idea of what voting could be like and allows them to look into current issues.”
After the UHS polls closed, Biden won 52.3% and Trump won 47.7% of students’ votes in the mock election. The two most important issues cited were the economy and COVID-19 response.
The mock election’s results mirrored the results of the actual election. On November 6th, Decision Desk HQ called that Biden was the predicted presidential elect, and other organizations such as the Associated Press began to do the same.
As mail-in ballots continue to be collected and counted, Biden’s number of votes slowly but surely began to rise. The numbers currently sit at 306 electoral votes for Biden, and 232 voted for Trump.
“I think it’s great to get students engaged and see what their opinions are on politics,” principal Tom Lietz said. “I think students are a lot smarter than what our electoral system gives them credit for.”
Correctly predicting the president is not unheard of when it comes to Utica’s mock elections. Students correctly predicted both Trump and former President Obama in previous years.
“I think we’re a nice cross-section of this area,” Lietz said. “I’m never shocked. I always expect it to vary a bit.”