In Minnesota’s first statewide mock election for high school students, Republican candidate Donald Trump emerged victorious as students’ choice for president of the United States.
Trump was the winner at most area schools as well, collecting the most votes at Andover High School, Anoka High School, Blaine High School and Legacy Christian Academy.
Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate, earned more votes than any other candidate at Anoka-Hennepin Technical High School, Coon Rapids High School and Paladin Career and Technical High School.
Northwest Passage Charter School had an equal number of Trump and Clinton supporters.
A significant number of students voted for third-party candidates, particularly at Paladin Career and Technical High School in Blaine where 40 percent of voters opted to vote third party, most for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Anoka and Blaine high schools both had nearly a third of voters choose a third-party candidate. Libertarian Gary Johnson was the most popular choice for both Anoka and Blaine students.
Students also listed a number of write-in candidates.
Across the state, 77,017 students enrolled in 213 high schools voted in the mock election on and in the days leading up to Mock Election Day Oct. 25.
Trump garnered 34.97 percent of the vote, while Clinton lagged behind with 32.89 percent. The most popular third-party candidate was Dan Vacek with the Legal Marijuana Now party. Vacek earned 5.93 percent of the vote.
At Andover High School, League of Women Voters volunteers “registered” voters during students’ lunch period. Students were asked to provide their name and birth date before being given a ballot.
Junior Jarad Eppenberger voted for Trump, but if he was old enough to vote Nov. 8, he wouldn’t, he said.
“It’s just too sad,” he said calling the election this year more of a joke.
But the election will have a serious impact on the American people, junior Erik Schwartz added.
Schwartz also voted for Trump in the mock election, and he believes a lot of students voted they way that their parents plan to, he said.
Junior Carley Graheck voted for Clinton because she thinks Trump does not have the right qualifications to be president, and she disagrees with his policies, she said.
Junior Lauren Janowiec cast her vote for Trump.
“I’m a conservative,” she said. “I like that he is against abortion.”
Standing beside her, junior Katie Mikesell said she, too, is pro-life, but she voted for Clinton.
“I just can’t agree with some of (Trump’s) views on immigration,” Mikesell said. And as a biracial woman, she has been offended by some of Trump’s actions and comments, she added.
“I’m really impressed with the participation so far,” Andover High School Principal Becky Brodeur said as students lined up to cast their votes Oct. 25. “I’m impressed that they want to have their voice heard.”
The goal of Minnesota Students Vote 2016, organized by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, is to excite students to participate in future elections.
“When young people are given the opportunity to think of themselves as voters, they are more likely to become voters when eligible,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a letter to educators.
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