On Wednesday, Oct. 18, The Maine College Democrats hosted a watch party for the Maine Gubernatorial Debate in the International Affairs Lounge in North Stevens Hall at the University of Maine.
Taylor Cray, a third-year political science and women’s, gender and sexuality studies student, led the event and prior to the debate moderated a discussion about the upcoming election.
“We want to get people to vote and tell them to spread the word,” Cray said. “Voter turnout in 2016 was not great, especially at UMaine, and we saw how that turned out.”
As the debate began, spectators filed in and sat in a semicircle, exchanging remarks over pizza and beverages. As more and more students filed into the International Affairs Lounge, Cray encouraged them to sign up to volunteer to help spread the word about voting.
The debate, hosted in Augusta, began at 8 p.m. The debate was moderated by Pat Callaghan. Janet Mills (D), Alan Caron (I), Terry Hayes (I), and Shawn Moody (R), answered questions from both the moderator and followers on social media through the hashtag #MEGovDebate.
“[Voting is important] because our votes for President and whatnot don’t actually count so I feel like this [midterm election] is our connection maker impact, who our next governor is and whatnot,” said Dalton Bouchles, a third-year economics student at UMaine.
“I don’t know yet who I’m voting for. I haven’t paid attention to the election process and hope that this debate will help me figure that out,” Bouchles said.
During the debate, each candidate was given as much time as necessary to answer the question and was then allotted one minute and 40 seconds for a closing statement. All four candidates answered questions regarding the state’s economy, energy prices and workplace shortages.
“People higher than us need to speak for and represent our voice,” said Amanda Laverdiere, a fourth-year psychology student at UMaine. “I feel decently informed on what to expect on Election Day. I’m voting for Janet Mills because she seems less evil.”
Maine has same-day voter registration on Election Day for those that are not yet registered to vote. The midterm elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The Maine ballot will include questions regarding taxes, bonds and elections. Early voting ballots will become available on Nov. 1, absentee ballots are available on Maine.gov and polls on Election day will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information on what to expect on the ballot on Election Day in Maine, please visit lwvme.org/guide.html.