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Citizenship

7 Things You Need to Know About the Upcoming Midterm Elections in the US

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Voting is a powerful way for people to make their voices heard on issues that matter to them. The upcoming US midterm election is an opportunity to elect candidates who believe in the change you want to make both within this country and around the world. Join us in taking action on this issue by registering to vote here.

In the US, people have the right to express support for or protest elected officials and their policies any day of the year. However, Election Day is when citizens' voices are truly amplified.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, communities across the country will have the opportunity to vote for local and state representatives who could have major impacts on issues like immigration, health care, and education.

Here's what you should know about the upcoming midterm elections.


1. This is a pivotal election.

All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, 35 US Senate seats, 36 governorships, about 80% of state legislative positions, as well as several mayors and judgeships on the ballot this fall. That means that the results of this election could redefine the country's future. Though midterms historically generate lower voter turnout than presidential elections, they are not any less important. In fact, midterms are essential to the democratic process in the US as they provide an opportunity for citizens to choose to keep or replace leaders in office, at the local, state, and federal levels.

2. Election day is Nov. 6, 2018.

Voter registration dates vary by state but people across the country will go to the polls on November 6th to cast their ballots. Results will likely be announced on that day. See the bottom of this article for remaining voter registration dates by state.

3. Several toss-up races could change the Senate majority.

Nine states have a Senate seat that could be a toss-up in the upcoming midterm election. Voters in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas will have the power to decide the which party holds the Senate majority for the next term. Currently, the Democratic Party has 37 confirmed seats while the Republican Party has 46 — and 51 seats are needed to take control of the senate.

4. Races for the seats in the House of Representatives may also be tight.

There are 67 House seats with highly competitive races this year, which means the party with the majority of seats in the House could also change this election cycle. In order to take the House, Democrats would need to flip at least 23 seats in districts in New Mexico, New York, Kansas, Minnesota, and Iowa. Currently, the Democratic Party has 183 confirmed seats while the Republican Party has 148. A total of 218 seats are needed to control the House.

5. Important social and economic issues are being debated.

Controversial tax cuts and immigration policies, including the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, which led to migrant children being separated from their parents are being heavily debated in congress and by candidates. Attempts to repeal Obamacare, which could potentially cause millions of Americans to lose health care coverage, have also sparked divisive debates around US social and economic policy. As the midterm elections approach, candidates are voicing their positions on such policies and more, and it is important for voters to find out where the candidates on their ballot stand on the issues that matter to them. You can find information about your candidates and the issues on your ballot at On the Issues, Vote411, and GovTrack.

6. Approximately 46 million eligible voters are 18-29 years old.

Making up 21% of the eligible voters, young people's participation could decide the outcome of the midterm elections. While millennials have had low voter turnout in the past, over 55% say they will vote in the upcoming midterms, according to poll data collected by NBC News and GenForward. This year has seen a number of youth activists advocating for young people to vote in order to make their generation's voice heard.

7. These 17 states (plus DC) allow same-day voter registration.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming will all allow voters to both register to vote and cast their ballots on election day, Nov. 6.

If you live in any of these states, there's still time to register!

California: Same-day voter registration

Colorado: Same-day voter registration

Connecticut: Oct. 30, 2018 by mail or Same-day voter registration

District of Columbia: Same-day voter registration

Hawaii: Same-day voter registration

Idaho: Same-day voter registration

Illinois: Same-day voter registration

Iowa: Same-day voter registration

Maine: Same-day voter registration

Maryland: Same-day voter registration

Minnesota: Same-day voter registration

Montana: Same-day voter registration

New Hampshire: Same-day voter registration

North Carolina: Same-day voter registration

North Dakota: Voter registration is not required.

Utah: Same-day voter registration

Vermont: No deadline, Same-day voter registration

Wisconsin: Same-day voter registration

Wyoming: Same-day voter registration