Nearly 250 million people in the United States are eligible to vote in critical midterm elections that will determine the makeup of the 118th US Congress. In-person Election Day is November 8, with many voters casting ballots by mail or via drop boxes before then.
The election results will set the tone for the rest of US President Joe Biden’s first presidential term. His Democratic Party has held slim majorities in the House of Representatives and the US Senate. If the opposition Republicans win majorities in either chamber, they have said they will block Biden’s agenda. Americans will also choose candidates in various federal, state and local elections.
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All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for re-election along with 35 seats in the Senate. One of those is for a four-year term rather than the usual six-year term, as the new senator will be replacing a retiring one. A second special Senate election fills the seat in California for six weeks between Election Day and the beginning of the new Congress. The seat was vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris and has been held by an appointee.
Thirty-six states and three territories will be choosing a governor.
The US House of Representatives
Voters across all 50 states will elect legislators for the House of Representatives. There are 435 seats in total and each seat is up for election every two years.
This year’s legislative elections reflect redistricting based on the results of the 2020 Census, potentially shifting the balance of power in several states.
The US Senate
There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs this year, roughly one-third of the 100-seat body. The Republicans currently hold 50 seats, the Democrats 48 seats, with another two independents who caucus with the Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris, the leader of the Senate and a Democrat, casts the deciding vote in any 50-50 tie.
The most critical non-federal elections this year will choose governors who run the executive branches of each state government.
Voters in 36 states and three territories — Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa — will elect governors in these midterm elections.
Governors are the executive heads of a state or territory with varying powers depending on the jurisdiction, including policymaking, budget control, and appointing officials and judges. US governors serve four-year terms except in Vermont and New Hampshire, where the tenure is two years.
How large is voter turnout in midterm elections?
Voter turnout for midterm elections has hovered at about 40 percent of the voting-eligible population in recent elections.
In 2018, in a historical turnout, 50 percent of eligible voters took part, up from 36.7 percent in 2016.
The year 2022 has seen the beginning of war in Ukraine, continuing gun violence in the US, record numbers of refugees and migrants at the US-Mexico border, and a landmark Supreme Court decision that rolled back the nationwide right to abortion.
But ahead of the November 8 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress, voters clearly have one thing on their minds: their wallets.
Reuters/Ipsos survey data shows that inflation and the economy are far and away the most pressing issues among those who say they are likely to vote.
In a Pew Research Center poll, 79 percent of the 3,993 registered voters surveyed said the economy was their top issue, with Republicans as more likely to benefit if that were the deciding issue.
For each key issue, the October survey asked ‘if the election was held today, they would vote for _________ in their district’.