Those were the results of a school-wide mock election held earlier this week at Ojai Valley School, which had Mr. Biden winning the presidential election 75% to 25%.
Assistant Head of School and government teacher Laurel Colborn came up with the idea of holding the mock election after watching an episode of the news show Nightline during which a reporter visited a high school that has been staging mock elections for many years.
The idea inspired Mrs. Colborn to do the same at OVS. With the help of Head of School Craig Floyd, she designed a Google form that was sent to all Upper Campus teachers and students.
In addition to the presidential race, the Google form also included several California propositions for students and teachers to consider.
The OVS election had about 64% participation, likely just a few ticks below what will be the national average but well above the state average of 58%.
“I wanted to get students excited about participating in the election process,” Mrs. Colborn explained. “And I wanted to see if the OVS results would be similar to the California and national results.”
While the presidential race at a national level is still too close to call, OVS support for Mr. Biden surpassed that of California voters, who favored Joe Biden over Donald Trump 65% to 33%. Moreover, the students’ and teachers’ balloting on propositions aligned with about 80% of the results statewide.
Among those, OVS voters were in lockstep with the California electorate in supporting a proposition aimed at generating money to keep open the state’s stem cell agency and in backing a measure that would exempt gig companies such as Uber and Lyft from a new state law requiring them to treat workers as employees. Both OVS and California voters also agreed on a measure aimed at ensuring more data privacy
Areas of disagreement included whether 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in primary and special elections if they will be 18 and eligible by the next general election (Californians rejected the measure while OVS voters overwhelmingly approved it) and in whether affirmative action should once again be used in hiring, spending and admissions decisions (Californians said no, while the vast majority of OVS voters said yes).
As an active follower of the election, Ojai Valley School librarian Devyn Reynolds took part in the OVS election and found that her votes not only matched up with the California majority but also with the majority of high school students who cast ballots.
Ms. Reynolds felt strongly that “every vote matters” is not only an important concept for school participation in the mock election, but an important one for every person in the country.
“I think what we need in the nation is getting everybody to vote, and giving [the students] an opportunity to practice voting will hopefully encourage [the students] to do it in real time when they are given the right to vote,” Ms. Reynolds said.
Ben said he felt it was important to give high school students the opportunity to vote in the mock election because they got to express opinions on nationwide issues.
“We have seniors voting and we have people who are going to be voting in the next election, and that was a good way to give them some experience,” Ben said.