Everyone knows or should know by now that this isn’t a presidential election year, there are many other races coming for us to vote on that include federal, state, and local level, measures and initiatives.
Here’s what you need to know:
Congressional elections affect your state's representation in Congress. Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government that includes the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Unlike Presidential elections, which use the Electoral College to determine who the next president will be, congressional elections use the direct vote of a state’s citizens to choose the winners. Midterm elections are the federal elections in which voters choose members of Congress but not a new president. “Midterms” are held halfway between presidential elections. Voters elect one-third of all U.S. senators and all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives during the midterms. The next congressional elections, this Election Day, November 6, are midterm elections.
Midterms determine which political party—Democratic or Republican—will control each chamber of Congress for the next two years. The party in control of either chamber is the party more likely to get its proposed legislation passed in that chamber. Proposed legislation must pass in both the House and the Senate for it to reach the president’s desk for approval. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms, which means that all 435 representatives are elected in both midterm and presidential election years. The number of representatives per state is based proportionally on the state’s population. Each representative serves the citizens of a specific congressional district. To be elected, a representative must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and live in the state he or she Senators serve six-year, overlapping terms. One-third of all U.S. senators are elected during each midterm and each presidential election year. There are 100 U.S. senators, two from each state. To be eligible to be elected, a senator must be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and live in the state he or she represents. State and local elections can take place in any year, at various times throughout the year. Elections may be held for offices like the state’s governor, seats in the state legislature, a city’s mayor, judges, local officials, or for other reasons. Ballot initiatives that affect the laws, taxes, and budget of your state, county, or town may be up for a vote at local and state elections.