Fourth-graders re-elect Gov. LePage, Sen. Collins

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — While they may not be able to officially vote for nearly another decade, fourth-graders at SeDoMoCha Elementary had the chance to replicate the real thing as they learned about the process for putting leaders in place and laws on the books.

ne-SeDoelection-dc-po-46Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom

    THE GRADE 4 DEMOGRAPHIC — SeDoMoCha Elementary School fourth-graders went to the polls on Nov. 4 to make their choice for governor, U.S. Sen. and U.S. Rep. and the referendum questions. The students reelected both Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Sen. Collins, chose Emily Cain as their representative and had just over 50 percent vote “no” on the bear referendum.

    “We have been doing about a week on the election, democracy and how you vote,” grade 4 teacher Katie Shepard said about a unit she and her fellow grade-level educators presented to their students. “We talked a bit about the referendum, the bonds and the kids got to look at a mock election ballot. We thought we would do something special.” She added the students also learned about the various political ads on the airwaves, and how many often include negative portrayals of the opposition.
    Shepard said the fourth-graders became very interested in the election, particularly in the races for governor, U.S. Senate and Congress. “We did voter registration cards, they learned how to fill out ballots and how you don’t tell who you voted for,” she said. Shepard explained a curtained voting area was set up, and after the students made their decisions they each received an “I voted” sticker, just like at the municipal polls.
    “We had 100 percent voter turnout,” Shepard said on Nov. 5, the day after the actual and grade 4 elections. “It was a good experience for everyone. We are going to look at what the fourth-grade results were and what the state results were.”
    During an afternoon session, students from all three classes gathered in Shepard’s class to learn who they elected to office. She began with the race for the Blaine House, and SeDoMoCha’s grade 4 reelected Gov. LePage, as he received 48 percent of the vote, with Mike Michaud at 42 percent and Eliot Cutler at 10 percent.
    Most of the students knew Gov. LePage was the winner the day before, and they saw how close their numbers were to Maine’s voters — approximately 47, 43 and 8 percent respectively per counts from earlier in the day.
    U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will be returning as she earned 60 percent of the SeDoMoCha vote, compared to about 68 percent on the state ballots.
    For U.S. Congress, the young voters would have sent Emily Cain to Washington D.C. with 59 percent checking her name off, compared to 25 percent for Bruce Poliquin and 16 percent for Blaine Richardson.
    “This breaks the pattern, a little bit didn’t it,” Shepard asked, as Poliquin won the race with 46 percent of the votes and Cain was the runner-up at 42 percent. “Why were you fourth-graders so close to the real election for governor and senator but not for the representative race?”
    Some of the students speculated that they and their peers may have seen Cain’s ads and thought she was a good person, but their parents did not see or view the commercials the same way.
    Shepard said some students remarked how ‘these ads were really mean’ to Cain. “Do you think the ads you saw influenced how you voted,” she asked, saying this question was “food for thought.”
    The referendum concerning bear hunting had a nearly even split in grade 4, with 49 percent saying “yes” and 51 voting “no.” The state tallies were also close, but with the “no’s” having a 52-48 winning edge.
    “So again, very close,” Shepard said, then handing out a copy of how Dover-Foxcroft residents voted for many of the students to see how their parents and other adults viewed the candidates and questions.
    “You have done excellent work with government,” she said at the end of class. “I hope you had fun, I know the teachers had fun, and we hope you continue with the democratic process.”

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.