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Pitman students cast their votes on governor recall
student mock recall election
Students in Pitman High Government teacher Isaac Farhadian’s class pose for a picture after they voted in the California Gubernatorial Student Recall Election (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Students at Pitman High School were given the chance to weigh-in on the future of California’s governor during a mock election this week, with 57.1% of those casting votes wanting to see Gavin Newsom ousted from office.

Students were given the opportunity to participate in the California Gubernatorial Student Recall Election at Pitman High School, with the help of Government teacher Isaac Farhadian and the social studies department. The effort mostly targeted the junior and senior classes and some sophomores.

The Pitman Junior State of America (JSA), a nonpartisan student civics organization on campus, gave presentations on why Governor Gavin Newsom should be recalled and why he shouldn’t.

“When major changes in the government occur, whether that be in a city, state or the entire nation, I feel that it’s extremely important that everyone has a voice regardless of their age. By hosting this mock election right before the Newsom recall, we were able to educate people in the same age group as us about what’s going on in the very state we live in today in order to give them the chance to cast their own vote, even if it won’t count in the actual recall election,” said Sophomore Fiona Sargisian. “As we practice this now, we are learning how to confidently showcase what we believe in as well as how to fully comprehend why we believe in the things we believe in. We were really able to encourage and teach others about things like the voting system, the people that will potentially have power over the state we live in and why it is so important that we take part in something like this in the future as well. It's crucial to understand that our opinions, whether they are agreed upon by many or not, do matter and will have an impact on our own futures, not just the state’s.”

Out of the 868 students who participated in the vote, 57.1 voted to recall governor Newsom and 42.9 wanted him to complete his term. The top three vote getters were Larry Elder (19%), Kevin Paffrath (12.1%), John Cox (12.1%), Kevin Faulconer (7.2%), John Drake (6.6%), Holly Baade (5.7%) and Caitlyn Jenner (5.3%).

According to Farhadian, the idea behind having this Mock Student Recall Election is threefold: First, it gives students the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. Second, it gives students the opportunity to conduct independent research on why some want Governor Newsom recalled and why some don’t. It also gives them the opportunity to research the different candidates vying to replace him if he does get recalled.

“This Mock Recall Election allowed students to participate in a real-life authentic simulation that culminated in their voices being heard. Many were not of voting age yet, so this experience allowed for them to cast a vote on a current event issue,” he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by history teacher Jennifer Andrade, who believes activities like these prepare students as they are getting ready to begin their adult lives.

“Students have the ability to learn how to be engaged in civic life through mock elections such as these. By giving students the tools to research to make informed decisions, we, at Pitman High, are creating the next generation of informed voters and leaders to run our state and our country. This mock election gives students the practice to see what it will be like when they turn 18 and how they can be a participant in civic life,” she said.

Through this process some students came to recognize the importance of learning about civil engagement and how the democratic process works. They saw this mock election as a way for them to learn more about the issues and discuss issues with each other.

“By setting up a recall mock election, we are preparing ourselves for the future ahead of us as we reach adulthood. Whether politics means something to you or not, it will always have an impact on everything around you. Learning about how a recall works and the candidates that are running helped introduce PHS students to major controversial themes in politics as well as the importance of their vote,” said senior Ravneet Brar. “After all, your vote could be the one percent that changes the results of the election, whether you believe it or not. So, making sure to take the time to research your candidates and finding out what you stand for is really what matters most during elections. By getting involved today, you can shape a better tomorrow.”