On November 3rd, the 2020 presidential election took place. That very same week, the Casady Upper Division held its own mock election. Orchestrated by Dr. Jami Harp and her A.P. Government class, the mock election gave insight into the political preferences of Casady high school students.
In the election, 134 out of 318 students voted, resulting in a 42.14 percent voter turnout. For the presidency, President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won with 61.2 % of the popular vote. Although Casady students chose the same candidate for President as the rest of the United States, they voted very differently than Oklahoma’s voters. In Oklahoma’s senatorial election, Republican Senator Jim Inhoffe easily won reelection. However, nearly fifty percent of Casady students voted for the Democratic candidate, Abby Broyles. Over fifty percent of Casady students also voted for the Democratic candidate, Representative Kendra Horn of Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District, while her Republican competitor, Stephanie Bice, narrowly won the actual election.
Casady students also voted on Oklahoma’s State Questions of the 2020 Election. Approximately fifty-five percent of Casady voters voted for State Question 805 and nearly fifty-seven percent of the Casady electorate voted for State Question 802. However, neither of the state questions passed in Oklahoma’s election.
Not only did the mock election include Oklahoma’s state questions on the ballot, but also included Casady Campus Questions. Question 101 proposed that students “wear out of uniform clothing on Fridays” and passed with overwhelming support. Casady Campus Question 108 “propose[d] that each grade has one designated day a week to order lunch from a visiting food truck that Casady Parent Organization coordinates.” This Question was approved with nearly 77 percent of the vote.
In order to better understand how and why the election was organized, I spoke with Dr. Harp. Dr. Harp and her students said that they hoped that the election would prepare students for civil and political engagement as they grew older. Harp fondly remembers her own experience voting in a mock election in high school and the feeling of excitement to participate in an election when she was older. She gave a lot of autonomy to her A.P. Government Students who “came up with proposals on how to structure the election, how to advertise the election, and how [to] think about broader civil engagement.” The class also aimed to “mirror the electoral college” through chapel groups.
Dr. Harp and I also discussed why the mock election’s voter turnout might have been so low. Harp felt that this might partially be due to the low voter turnout in the broader population, but also because the mock election occurred during a very hectic time for Casady students. All Casady high school students were not only in remote learning, but many also had lost power due to an ice storm.
Regardless of whom they voted for, the Casady mock election gave Upper Division students a chance to practice civic engagement and contemplate how our political system works today. Hopefully all of our Upper Division Students will be energized and motivated to vote in the Election of 2024!