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the sulfate ion can hold more than 8 electrons and if that's the case with any element, you want to be able to fill up the central element first. If you can go further than the octet rule, you would like to create a Lewis structure that contains the better formal charges (more with a formal charge of 0) and in this case it would be when using the double bonds.
I agree with the earlier answers. I believe the main reason and the reason expressed most to us in Lecture was that the structure with 2 double bonds has a formal charger closer to 0 than the structure with 4 single bonds. When drawing Lewis Structures, you always want to option with the formal charge closest to 0.
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