VOTE 2022

An African American woman is having a conversation with two white men next to a voting booth.

Montgomery County Chief Election Judge Sherrill Doye (L) supervises volunteers at the early voting location in the ballroom of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Station on October 27, 2022 in Sandy Spring, Maryland.

It’s time for Americans to cast their votes in the midterm election. These elections are called “midterm” because they take place in the middle of the president’s four-year term, in the month of November. As with all elections, the midterm elections heavily influence politics on a local, state, and national level. Because these elections affect so many aspects of people’s lives, it is vital that voters turn out to participate. Voting is how Americans exercise their civic duty; it is essential because it gives citizens the opportunity to participate in American democracy.

Midterm elections are important in part because Americans elect members of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of the House serve two-year terms, which means that all 435 seats are on the ballot in every federal election, including midterms. Senators are elected for staggered terms every six years. In any given election, including the midterms, one third of senators must stand for reelection. Members of Congress are important because they make the country’s laws and control the federal budget. In addition, the political makeup of Congress can affect the political power of the president and the White House’s ability to pursue its agenda.

American democracy consists of two main political parties: the Democrats and Republicans. The party that wins the majority of seats controls Congress, making it easier for that party to pass legislation. If the Congressional majority and the president are from different parties, the two branches of government can sometimes find it difficult to work together or reach compromises on major issues and priorities. The 2022 midterm election is important because after the 2020 election, Democrats had a slim majority in the House. At the same time the Senate was evenly divided, with Vice President Kamala Harris—who under the Constitution breaks ties in the Senate—giving the Democrats a majority. Many observers are predicting a possible change in majority giving the Republicans control of Congress, while Democrat Joe Biden remains president.

Midterm elections are also important at the state and local levels. The election of state and local officials helps dictate the laws and important decisions within each state and community. On the state level, governors are selected every four years. In many states, these elections fall in the same years as midterms. As a state’s highest ranking official, it is the governor’s job to enact state laws and oversee the executive branch. Local lawmakers on the ballot during midterm elections might include mayors, judges, county officials, and dozens of others. These elected state officials work together to make important decisions in communities across America that affect life daily.

It is important to exercise your right to vote because it allows your voice and concerns to be heard as a citizen of the United States. In America, all citizens over the age of 18 that meet their state’s residency requirements are allowed to vote. If you are under 18, you can still participate in the election process by volunteering, getting informed, and voicing your opinion while encouraging others to vote.

Image credits:
©Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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