2014 Elections-First Time Voters

Often, mock elections are an early indicator of how eligible voters will cast their ballots. This year was no exception. See results of student elections here:  http://www.maine.gov/mockelection/. The only race in which students predicted a winner differently than the actual election outcome was in the race for U.S. House District 2 between Emily Ann Cain (D) and Bruce Poliquin (R). Poliquin ended up winning in the actual election, but lost in the student vote by a narrow margin. While mock elections are a cool way to introduce teens to the political process, many can’t wait until they turn 18 and can cast an official ballot. Others just don’t see the point.

Mira McKenney graduated last year and is currently a freshman at Saint Joseph’s college. She turned 18 last April, but she chose not to vote this time. One of the reason was her tight class schedule. But she also explained that she didn’t have a strong opinion on most of the matters on the ballot. She does, however, think voting can make a difference, she just wasn’t sure how much right now. She is not happy that Paul Lepage was re-elected as governor. She said, “I’ve heard some not so good things about him. Also, it’s good to be outspoken, but just don’t overdo it.” She felt most strongly about the bear-baiting referendum which sought to change hunting practices and lost. She thinks it’s a cruel thing to trap the animals and hunt them with dogs.  Right now, she doesn’t lean towards either party, “I like parts of republican and parts of the democratic values,” she said. She plans to definitely go out to vote in the next election.

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Gavin Crespin

Senior Gavin Crespin was disappointed by the results, but proud to have voted. He said, “I voted hoping Le Page  wouldn’t get back into office. He did not deliver what was expected of him in office. He was childish and a fool. I didn’t want him to be back in office. He’s a Descartes to Maine! I would like to say it’s worth voting so you can get your opinion out there and win or lose you at least put your ballot out there. I’m glad I went to put what my words had to say on the piece or paper that determines who’s going to be elected and what is the greater good for Maine.”

 Christopher Camire, a senior at our school, is going to turn 18 next year, so he was unable to cast a ballot this November. Although he has strong opinions he is not sure he will vote in the next election either because he believes the political system is “too corrupt and either way I vote there will be good things as well as bad things that happen.” He does not like the fact that Paul Lepage was re-elected because, “Lepage has not helped our economy progress or helped to create jobs for Mainers.” He would have voted “no” on the Bear Baiting question because he believes “those hunting methods are the best ways of controlling Maine’s bear population. The only thing I would say is to make hounding and trapping illegal because that does not really harvest a lot of bears, but baiting is the main method that we control the population of bears so I think that should be the only bear hunting method allowed out of those three.” He feels like he will side with either party depending on who can most help Americans — “I don’t care if they are democrat or republican, as long as they show positive results, then that’s fine with me.”

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Jessica Pearson

Jessica Pearson graduated last year from Thornton Academy and now attends Southern Maine Community College. When asked of her views on bear-baiting, she said, “I voted against bear-baiting. I just think it’s cruel and kind of like bear genocide. It’s just not fair to the bears, they don’t know any better. ”

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Nate Glaude

Nate Glaude was excited to take advantage of being eligible to vote for the first time. 

“My experience voting for the first time was very cool. I went to my ward and told them my name, they told me a few things. I grabbed my papers and voted. It felt good. Voting helped me feel like I was a part of the community,” Glaude said.

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Jessica Morrisette

In the week before the election, Jessica Morrisette was still unregistered. “I don’t know if I am going to vote yet it’s so stressful. And I haven’t really done too much research on it.” Samantha Sousa also chose not to vote. She said, “I’m just not currently into politics right now. I don’t feel like I have the political knowledge to vote.”

According the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, “21.5% of young people, ages 18-29, voted in the 2014 midterm elections…If that number holds, it will be a slight increase from the 20.9% youth voter turnout in 2010.” While the Republican party had big wins across the country, according to CIRCLE, “Overall, young voters in 2014 favored Democratic Congressional candidates over Republicans. For example, according to the national exit poll data on House races, youth aged 18-29 preferred Democratic candidates by 55% to 42%. Young voters also backed Democratic candidates in most Senate races.”

 

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