FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2014
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski
Gov. LePage wins re-election in Maine Student Mock Election 2014
Collins, Pingree, Cain also chosen as thousands of youth ballots counted at Augusta “Rally and Tally” event
AUGUSTA — Hundreds of students filled the Augusta Armory Wednesday for the 2014 Rally and Tally Mock Election event, compiling student votes from around the state and taking part in election-related activities.
Chosen as winners of the student vote were Gov. Paul LePage, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, while Emily Cain bested Bruce Poliquin in Congressional District 2. Question 1, the bear baiting referendum, failed, while the six other referendum bond issues were passed. Full results can be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/mockelection/.
Several speakers addressed the students in attendance, who hailed from Fort Fairfield Elementary School, Greater Portland Christian School, Mount View Middle School in Thorndike and Riley School in Rockport.
Gubernatorial candidate Congressman Mike Michaud told students how he started in politics due to concerns about the health of the Penobscot River. “Thank you for being willing to get involved,” he told the students. “It makes a big difference.”
First Lady Ann LePage also addressed students, telling them how she had chosen to focus on veterans’ issues; their service, she said, is the reason why we can vote. She stressed that “voting is a duty” for which citizens need to be well-informed. “By participating in the mock election, you’re becoming informed citizens and possibly laying the groundwork for a future in public service of your own,” said LePage.
Additional speakers included Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Julie Flynn, emcees Phil Harriman and Ethan Strimling, and representatives from the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, U.S. Congress candidate Shenna Bellows, U.S. House candidates Emily Cain and Rep. Chellie Pingree. Several candidates also had representatives at booths, handing out stickers, buttons and campaign flyers.
In addition to tallying votes via phone and Internet, students took part in several activity booths, including an election vocabulary bingo game, campaign poster creation and a secret ballot vote for their favorite superhero. (The winner: Batman, via write-in campaign, beating out Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Storm.)
Students also gave stump speeches for their candidates or issues of choice. Fort Fairfield’s Cameron Ala won the most cheers for her speech in support of Michaud. Also a hit were Matt Hammond, David Frye and Ryan Waugh of Greater Portland Christian Academy, who shared a rap they created in support of Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election. The three high school students said this was their first time at the mock election and they were enjoying the activities.
Students from Fort Fairfield Elementary School traveled four hours to attend the event, visiting the Maine State Museum and Statehouse before the mock election began in the afternoon. School staff said nearly the entire fifth-grade class was able to attend due to the support of parents who were willing to pick them up upon their 11:30 p.m. return to school that evening.
Its a great experience in the voting process and a great lesson in democracy, said fifth-grade teacher John Ala.
Fifth-grade teacher Jay McKenney said, “the whole deal of getting up for stump speeches and seeing them go into a voting booth, it’s way more realistic.”
Mount View Middle School staff also said they have been bringing students to the event since 1992.
If you cant get interest in the kids at this age, youre going to lose them, said retired long-time social studies teacher Steve Hall. This is a good introduction, a good start.
Some of the kids get very engaged, said social studies teacher Faith Campbell. When theyre actually able to see someone running for office and see that theyre real people and theyll talk to you its empowering for students . It breaks the ice for them to understand that we have a citizen democracy, a truly inclusive democracy.
The 2014 Student Mock Election was organized by the Maine Department of the Secretary of State and sponsored by Pepsi Beverage Co. in Augusta, Maine Armory Rentals, the Town of West Gardiner, InforME Information Resource Network and the Bangor Letter Shop Color and Copy Center.