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

Students from 155 schools, in kindergarten through grade 12, voted in the 2016 Maine Student Mock Elections, indicating their preferences for not just president but also for the U.S. House of Representatives and Maine’s six upcoming referendum questions.

Connor Bragg and Xavier Schopmann, Windsor Elementary School seventh-graders, aren’t letting their choices for president interfere with their friendship, even while campaigning for opposite sides in the bitter rivalry between Trump and Clinton.

They voted simultaneously in adjacent voting booths at the Augusta State Armory, then made their way through the crowd of students gathered for the mock election, walking side by side, with Connor carrying a sign urging his fellow students to vote for Trump, and Xavier holding up a sign urging a vote for Clinton.

They both said being on opposite sides in the presidential race hadn’t affected their friendship — at least, Connor said, “no more than a tiny, tiny bit.”

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 his ideas and his business experience.

Both said they plan to register to vote, for real, 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,” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said, greeting students Wednesday at the Armory. “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 Wednesday by phone and via the Internet, from student mock elections 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 into an official wooden state ballot box.


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

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 that, 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. Katie Bavoso, a WCSH television news anchor, served as emcee.


Students voted for president and U.S. House of Representatives, and on the six statewide referendum questions.

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

Party results were the opposite of that in District 2, where Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin got 5,971 votes, beating out Democrat Emily Cain, who received 4,736 votes.

Students rejected Question 1, a citizen initiative to legalize marijuana, by a vote of 7,480-8,268.

They approved Question 3, a proposal to require background checks for all gun sales, by a vote of 9,463-6,536.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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