Election simulation: results and the future

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The annual election simulation at Townsend Harris is a method to get students involved in politics. According to the AP Government class teachers, the simulation is supposed to be a “tremendous educational experience.” Similar to the rest of the nation, Democrats were widely victorious. Here they won in all but one position.

Similar to prior years, the THHS population voted in favor of the Democrats in the annual election simulation: Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul for Governor and Lieutenant Governor respectively, Thomas P. DiNapoli for Comptroller, Letitia James for Attorney General, Kirsten Gillibrand for N.Y. Senate, Dana Balter for 24th District Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for 14th District Congress, Toby Ann Stavisky for 16th District Senate, and Stacey G. Pheffer Amato for 23rd District Assembly. These results differ only from the actual election in the 24th district, where Republican John Katko was voted as the representative.

Sophomore Kanny Ho Fang said, “I certainly learned more this year, and was more on track with each candidate, their beliefs, and the overall electoral system of not only NY, but also the US.”

History teacher Jaime Baranoff agreed: “I think we had a good Election Simulation this year. I was particularly pleased with the quality of our radio shows. I found the hosts overall to be very well-prepared and ask good questions.”

Some felt that elements of the simulation needed improvement. Kanny commented on the imprecise information provided by the election simulation candidates; “At one point, if I had not been organized, it felt like everyone had the same liberal beliefs, and no one was clearly stating the ideas of their party.” In addition, Sophomore Hali Huang stated, “The same candidate [would] visit your class multiple times. I didn’t have half of my chart filled out.” Some found an issue in the level of commitment during the simulation.

Senior Max Kurant, who represented Andrew Cuomo in the election simulation, expressed, “Many interest groups and candidates in the election simulation endorsed candidates that in real life they are vehemently opposed to.”

Despite these thoughts, the teachers have made it clear that there will be more to look forward to next year.

“Next year we will have the Presidential Primary in advance of the 2020 presidential election,” stated Ms. Baranoff. “We are always trying to change and improve the Election Simulation to help make it a more enriching educational experience.”