Sandwich Students Take Part in Mock Election

SANDWICH – Sandwich High School officials are calling Monday’s state senate candidate forum and mock election a success.

Juniors and seniors heard from five of the seven candidates seeking to fill the vacant Plymouth/Barnstable State Senate seat before holding a mock election with voting booths and sample ballots.

Candidates who participated were Republican Jesse Brown, and Democrats Rebecca Coletta, John Mahoney Jr., Thomas Moakley, and Susan Moran.

History and Social Science Department Chair Mike Welch said it was exciting to see the next generation get involved in local politics.

“What I wanted to get out of it was to understand civic responsibility and for them to have an opportunity to really just meet their next senator,” Welch said.

This was the first time an event of this kind was held at the school.

In November, a student government day was held as part of the state’s new civics requirements for eighth graders.

Welch said the wanted to try an event like this for upper class members who pre-register to vote when they get driver’s licenses or seniors who are able to vote now or in the fall.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to hear from these candidates and go through the actual motions of voting in a mock election,” Welch said.

Welch said he feels the program was successful and hopes the school can hold similar events in the future.

He said the event also would not have been possible without the efforts of senior class president and organizer Jacob Swenson.

“With him gone and graduated, if we don’t have the same drive from a member of the student body it is not guaranteed it will play out the same way,” Welch said.

Swenson is active in the community and has organized events in town, along with helping with the plastic bottle ban.

“I’m very hopeful that if we have people in our schools who are willing to do things we are going to be pretty well off in the future,” Welch said.

Swenson said he was happy with how the event turned out.

“I was kind of nervous heading into it and wasn’t sure how it would go,” he said.

It was a difficult effort to reach out to the campaigns to coordinate schedules, talking with administration, reserving the space and getting students to volunteer.

“Seeing it all come together was really meaningful for me and impactful, I hope at least, for other people as well,” Swenson said.

The goal was to simulate the voting process.

“A lot of studies do show that when younger people are involved in the civic process at a younger age they are more likely to participate for the rest of their lives,” Swenson said.

The school worked with the town clerk’s office to get sample ballots and voting booths.

Seventy-seven students chose to vote using the Republican ballot and 74 voted for Brown, who was in attendance.

There were 122 Democratic ballots cast. Thomas Moakley received 47.5 percent of the votes, followed by Becky Coletta with 38.5 percent, John Mahoney with 10.7 percent, Susan Moran with 3.3 percent and no votes for Stephen Michael Palmer, who did not attend the forum.

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