Maine gubernatorial candidate Republican Shawn Moody speaks during a debate, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Students from more than 60 schools across the state chose Republican Shawn Moody as Maine’s next governor in mock voting that took place this month.

Moody claimed 40 percent of the students’ votes to Democratic rival Janet Mills’ 33.8 percent. Independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron attracted 13.7 percent and 11 percent of the vote respectively, according to results released by the Maine secretary of state’s office.

Students also decided to return Sen. Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin to Congress. King bested Republican Eric Brakey and Democrat Zak Ringelstein with 51.4 percent of the vote. Pingree, a Democrat who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District, received the votes of 46.6 percent of participating students. Poliquin, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District representative and a Republican, garnered 40.4 percent of the vote.

The student vote in the congressional races differed in a key way from how the vote will play out next month with registered voters. When adult voters cast their ballots in those races, they’ll use ranked-choice voting, ranking their preferred candidates, and the victor will have garnered a majority of votes.

Schools didn’t use ranked-choice voting due to its complexity, said Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office. But to help students understand the ranked-choice voting process and tabulation, a “Rally and Tally” event on Wednesday in Augusta provided students with an opportunity to try ranked-choice voting by placing votes for their favorite DC superhero.

Batman won, Muszynski said.

The event brought together students from seven schools who participated in election activities and helped tabulate votes and report the statewide results to the national mock election. Candidates and party representatives attended the event as well.

“The mock election introduces young people to the mechanics of democracy,” Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said Thursday after a visit with Hampden Academy students.

According to Dunlap, the candidates can be “very nervous” about the mock election, as the results have been close indicators of general election results in the past.

Students have opted for the ultimate winners for governor and Congress in all but two races since 2008, Maine Public reported.

In 2008, students chose Republican Charlie Summers over Pingree in the 1st Congressional District. In 2014, they chose Democrat Emily Cain over Poliquin in the 2nd Congressional District.

Dunlap said campaigns track the student election closely and have been known to change their strategies in response to the results.

Ranked-choice voting will be used in the Nov. 6 election in the congressional races, but none of the races for state-level office.

A poll taken in early October had Mills leading Moody by 8.5 percentage points, outside the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error. In the 2nd Congressional District, Poliquin and Golden were in a dead heat with 17.4 percent of voters undecided.

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