More than 26,000 Minnesota students cast their votes Tuesday — in a mock election meant to help students learn about civic engagement.

The program organized by the YMCA of the North, drew participants from more than 230 schools across the state. Students were able to cast their votes online in federal, state, county and city races. In the presidential race, the participants picked the Democratic candidate, Vice President Joe Biden, over Republican President Donald Trump by a wide margin. Biden received about 54% of the student vote to Trump's 34%.

About half of the votes cast were from students at schools in the Twin Cities metro area, with the largest share coming from high school students. Middle and elementary students also participated in the mock election, and the YMCA provided teachers at all grades with classroom plans for a lesson in tabulating election results.

Amy Anderson, executive director of the YMCA Center for Youth Voice, said the goal of the program was to ensure that young people don't feel intimidated by the voting process and feel ready to cast their ballots once they turn 18.

"This is a way to help them build knowledge and confidence to engage when they are old enough to really vote," she said.

Erin Golden • 612-673-4790