AUGUSTA — Maine students chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for president during a mock election Wednesday, with Trump receiving 10,785 votes, or 42.3 percent, to Clinton’s 10,077, 39.5 percent.

Students from 155 schools voted in the 2016 Maine Student Mock Elections, casting ballots for president, the state’s two congressional races and Maine’s six referendum questions. The election was open to all Maine K-12 students, but most of those who voted. are middle- and high-school students.

Students favored Democrat incumbent Chellie Pingree over Republican Mark Holbrook in the 1st Congressional District, 5,295 to 4,465.

Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin defeated Democrat Emily Cain in the 2nd District, 5,971 votes to 4,736.

The students voted against legalizing recreational use of marijuana, defeating Question 1 by a vote of 7,480 to 8,268.

Results of other referendum questions:

 Question 2: A tax on higher incomes to fund public school aid, approved 8,703-7,175;

 Question 3: Requiring background checks on private firearms sales, approved 9,463-6,536;

 Question 4: Instituting a statewide minimum wage, approved 9,482-6,015;

 Question5: Instituting ranked choice voting, approved 8,618-6,446;

 Question 6: Transportation bond, approved 7,859-6,875.

Connor Bragg and Xavier Schopmann, Windsor Elementary School seventh-graders, said at the armory that they weren’t letting their difference of opinion over the presidential race interfere with their friendship, even as they campaigned for different candidates Wednesday.

They voted simultaneously in adjacent voting booths at the armory, then made their way side by side through the crowd of students gathered for the election, with Connor carrying a Trump sign, and Xavier holding up a sign for Clinton.

Xavier said he supports Clinton because he hates gun violence and thinks she’ll put criminals away.

Connor said he supports Trump because he likes the Republican’s ideas and his business experience.

Both said they plan to register to vote when they turn 18. And voting was what organizers of the student mock election hoped to encourage.

“My fellow Americans, welcome to your democracy, this is all about you,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said as he greeted students at the armory Wednesday. “Have fun today, learn a bit, ask questions of the candidates and campaigns that are here, and remember, someday, this will all belong to you.”

Students at the armory collected election results by phone and via the Internet Wednesday, from voting at 155 Maine schools. And they went through the voting process themselves, picking up ballots, entering one of five voting booths, and then depositing their ballots in a wooden official state ballot box.

The election results represent a relatively small portion of the elementary-through-high school student population in Maine, which has 620 public schools educating about 182,000 students.

Abby McClaughlin, an eighth-grader at Cony High School in Augusta, said she voted for Clinton because of her pro-choice stance on abortion and because she doesn’t want to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, as Trump as said he plans to do.

She said voting was easy, and more young people, who statistically vote in relatively low numbers, might vote if they knew how easy it was.

Dylan Erving, also an eighth-grader at Cony, said he supports Trump “because he’ll save your life.” He also said voting in the mock election was easy, though he said he didn’t know if he would register to vote when he turns 18.

Activities at the armory included “election vocabulary bingo,” and two tables where students could make their own political bumper stickers.

Numerous students carried signs which, rather than backing a candidate, said, simply, “I Will Vote.” At least one student toted a handmade sign urging a vote for Elmo, a Sesame Street character.

The theme of this year’s event was “Media in Politics,” and representatives of the Bangor Daily News and Kennebec Journal newspapers were on hand to talk about the business, and Katie Bavoso, WCSH television news anchor, served as emcee.


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