Midterm Elections Recap
Eric Guditz – Copy Editor
Voters in the U.S. headed to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 for the midterm elections. These elections happen once every four years, halfway between presidential elections, and may consist of congressional, state and local elections. They can dramatically change the general political landscape of the U.S.
This election, in particular, seems to have high stakes. Voter turnout for midterm elections is usually quite low compared to voter turnout for general elections, but this time, it was astoundingly high.
According to early estimates from the United States Election Project, more than 47 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot on Election Day. In addition, almost half of all eligible voters voted. This is a significant increase compared to the 36.7 percent of eligible voters that voted in the midterm election of 2014 and the 41 percent in 2010. This is the highest turnout since the midterm election in 1966, when 49 percent voted. It is estimated that 113 million people voted in this election.
Statistics calculated by The New York Times show that more Democrats than Republicans voted in this election. However, the increase in voter turnout compared to that of 2014 was about equal for both parties. It was predicted that more Democrats would vote, given their outrage at the Trump administration.
All 435 members of the House of Representatives as well as a third of the Senate are up for election every two years. Members of the Senate hold their positions for a total of six years. However, their terms are staggered and only one third of Senate members can be up for election at a time. This ensures that two-thirds of the Senate is left having experience.
This time around, all 435 members of the House and 35 seats in the Senate are up for election. 36 out of 50 state governors and many other state and local offices are up for election as well. 51 seats are needed for control of the Senate, while 218 seats are needed for the House. Although votes are still being counted, it has been determined that Democrats have gained control of the House while Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
What could be the consequences of the midterm elections? In their midterm elections, states such as Georgia and Florida will hold races for governor and state legislature, which could significantly affect Trump’s 2020 re-election bid. The outcome of the midterm elections could also affect legislation on topics such as healthcare, taxes, and immigration.
Gubernatorial elections could determine the fate of millions of Americans’ right to vote. For example, in Florida, Governor Rick Scott has worked to remove the right to vote from former felons with nonviolent convictions. His legislation makes it difficult for ex-felons to regain the right to vote. Lastly, perhaps most significant, with Democrats in control of the House, impeachment proceedings against President Trump could begin.