Midterm Elections: America Heads To The Polls

by Samuel Abasi Posted on November 6th, 2018

Houston, Texas, USA : America heads to the polls today in the high-stakes midterm elections. Voters will elect all 435 members to the U.S. House of Representatives, and 34 members to the Senate

Going into the midterms, the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress. Democrats are hoping that through a few critical elections they’re able to shift the balance of power in one or both houses.
In the House of Representatives, all 435 seats are up for election. In order to take control of the House, Democrats need a net gain of at least 23 seats.

That said, there are several House seats currently held by Democrats that Republicans have been eyeing, including in Missouri, North Dakota and Florida.

In the Senate, 35 seats are up for grabs. Democrats would need a net gain of two seats to take control. Several currently held by Republicans will see tight races, including in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi.

Midterm elections are to some extent always seen as a referendum on the current administration and party in power. This year is no different.

Because Republicans control of both the executive branch, led by Donald Trump, and the legislative branch, holding both the Senate and the House, many voters see the midterms as a chance to either show their support for or disapproval of Trump and his administration’s agenda.

That was the case during President Barack Obama’s presidency when Republicans made massive gains in both the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections.

A similar trend was seen in the second midterm election during President George W. Bush’s administration, as Democrats picked up seats in 2006. This followed the trend’s having been bucked in 2002 when Republicans actually gained seats.

What are the key Senate races to watch?

Of the 100 seats in the Senate, 35 are contested.

Some of the most-closely watched are instances where, if the Democrats take over seats currently held by Republicans, including Ted Cruz, that could flip the balance of power. Inversely, there are two Democratic senators, Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill, facing Republican opponents who could tip the scales the other way.

One of the tightest Senate races is in Arizona, as Republican Rep. Martha McSally and Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema are battling for the seat left open by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s decision to not seek re-election.

What are the key House races to watch?

Every House seat, which carries a two-year term, is open — and many will prove to be nail-biters.

One of the most closely watched is in Kentucky, with Republican Andy Barr and Democrat Amy McGrath are in a tight race. Barr is a former congressional staffer and a lawyer by trade, while McGrath is a former Marine Corps pilot who’s never before run for office.

Another is in Pennsylvania, as Conor Lamb made national headlines when he kickstarted Democrats’ blue-wave ambitions with an upset win in a special election in March. But come November, he’s poised to face even stiffer competition from the incumbent Republican, Rep. Keith Rothfus.

How many governors are on the ballot?

There are 36 governors who are facing a big verdict on Election Day.

The race in Florida has reached fever pitch, as Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis squares off with Democrat Andrew Gillum. The race may be etched in the national audience’s mind for disturbing reasons following racism accusations against DeSantis, which he’s denied, following Gillum’s primary victory.

Is there still time to register to vote?

It depends on your state.

Voter registration deadlines range from 30 days before Election Day to the day of.

Utah and Connecticut had one of the latest deadlines, as voters could register up to just a week before Election Day.

That said, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming are places that cater to procrastinators, as those states allow people to register to vote and cast a ballot — not an absentee ballot — on Election Day. And of course, there’s an exception to all of this, as North Dakota doesn’t have voter registration requirements.

To make sure you get to the polls and have your vote counted — no excuses! — here’s our guide to everything you need to know in your state. Keep in mind that regardless of when polls close, state laws require that everyone waiting in line can still vote. Most states also have laws requiring employers to let you take time off to vote, which we’ve noted here as well.

How do I find my polling place?

To find your polling place in any state:

Open a web browser to Vote.org.
Enter your address and click Go.

When do polls open in my state and what ID do I need?

Note: All times are local. Information about ID requirements comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Information about time off for voting comes from Workplace Fairness.

Alabama
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a valid photo ID. Employees are allowed to take one unpaid hour off to vote, but also must provide “reasonable notice” before doing so, and employers are allowed to determine the hour that employees can take. Voter registration ended Oct. 22.

Alaska
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters are required to present ID, but it does not have to include a photo. Employees are allowed to take paid time off to vote for as long as needed, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work to vote. Registration ended Oct. 7.

Arizona
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID with name and registered address, or two forms of non-photo ID with name and address. Voters can take up to three paid hours off to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work to vote. Employees must provide notice before Election Day and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Arkansas
Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters can present a photo ID or cast a provisional ballot (a ballot with votes that will be counted after election officials verify the voter’s eligibility) after signing a sworn statement confirming identity. Employees can take off as long as needed to vote, but will not be paid. Registration ended Oct. 9.

California
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters might be asked to provide ID. Employees can take up to two paid hours at the beginning or end of a shift, and it’s suggested they provide at least two days’ notice. Voters can register on Election Day.

Colorado
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must provide ID, but it does not have to include a photo. Employees can take off up to two paid hours unless they have at least three hours available before or after work to vote, and they must provide notice before Election Day. Voters can register on Election Day.

Connecticut
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must provide ID, but it does not have to include a photo. There is no time-off law for voting. Voters can register on Election Day.

Delaware
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must provide ID, but it does not have to include a photo. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 13.

Florida
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present ID with a photo and signature, or a second form of ID if the photo ID does not have a signature. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct 9.

Georgia
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must provide photo ID. Employees can take off up to two unpaid hours, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work to vote, and they must provide “reasonable” notice. Employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Hawaii
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters must provide ID, but it does not have to include a photo. Employees can take off up to two paid hours, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work to vote. Voters can register on Election Day.

Idaho
Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present government-issued photo ID or sign an affidavit. There is no time-off law. Voters can register on Election Day.

Illinois
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters might be asked to provide ID. Employees can take off up to two unpaid hours, unless they have at least two available hours before or after work. They must provide notice before Election Day and employers can determine the off hours. Voters can register on Election Day.

Indiana
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters must present a government-issued photo ID showing name and expiration date. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Iowa
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters must present a government-issued photo ID or sign a statement confirming identity. Employees can take off up to three paid hours, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. Employees must provide notice before Election Day, and employers can determine off hours. Voters can register on Election Day.

Kansas
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a government-issued photo ID. Employees can take off up to two paid hours, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 16.

Kentucky
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters must present ID, but it does have to include a photo. Employees can take off up to four unpaid hours, but must give notice before Election Day, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Louisiana
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID with name and signature, or they can provide a paycheck, utility bill, or another government document including name and address, in addition to signing an affidavit. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 16.

Maine
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement except for voters registering on Election Day. There is no time-off law. Voters can register on Election Day with ID and proof of residence.

Maryland
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters who registered by mail must present ID. Employees can take off up to two paid hours, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work. They must provide notice before Election Day and show proof of voting, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 16.

Massachusetts
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters who registered by mail must present ID. Employees only in manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile industries can take off the first two hours after polls open, unpaid, and they must apply to do so. Registration ended Oct. 17.

Michigan
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present photo ID or sign an affidavit saying they do not have any photo ID. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Minnesota
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement. Employees can take paid time off for as long as needed to vote. Voters can register on Election Day.

Mississippi
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present photo ID. Employees can take off as long as needed to vote, although they might not be paid while doing so. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Missouri
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters are asked to present ID, but it does not have to include a photo, and voters without ID can cast a provisional ballot. Employees can take off up to three paid hours to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. They must provide notice before election day, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 10.

Montana
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present ID, but it does not have to include a photo. There is no time-off law. Voters can register on Election Day.

Nebraska
For the part of the state that is on central time (CT), polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the part of the state on mountain time (MT), polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters might be asked to provide ID. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work. They can provide notice before or on Election Day, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 26.

Nevada
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must sign an election board register at the polls, which is compared to signature on the voter’s original application or on a government-issued ID. The time-off law depends on where the voter works in relation to his or her polling place. Voters who work two miles or fewer from their polling place can take off up to one paid hour; voters who work two to 10 miles from their polling place can take off up to two paid hours; and voters who work more than 10 miles from their polling place can take off up to three paid hours. Employees must give notice before election day and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 18.

New Hampshire
Polling place hours vary by municipality; voters can look up the hours for their polling place here on the secretary of state’s website. Voters must present photo ID, or if they are unable to do so, a poll worker will take a photo of the voter and attach it to an affidavit that the voter must sign. There is no time-off law, but employees can request an absentee ballot if they must be at work or commuting during polling hours. Voters can register on Election Day.

New Jersey
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present ID only if they did not provide ID while registering. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 16.

New Mexico
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present ID if they did not provide ID while registering by mail. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 9.

New York
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, unless they have at least four available hours before or after work. Employees must provide notice between two to 10 days before Election Day, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 12.

North Carolina
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Only first-time voters who registered by mail must present ID, or else cast a provisional ballot. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Nov. 3.

North Dakota
Polls can open between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and close between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., although precincts that received fewer than 75 votes in the last general election can open as late as noon. Use the secretary of state’s website to find the hours for your polling place. Voters must present ID including name, address and date of birth. There is no time-off law. North Dakota does not have a voter registration process, so all eligible residents can vote on Election Day.

Ohio
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters must provide full name, current address and ID, although it does not have to include a photo. Voters without valid ID can provide driver’s license number, state identification number or the last four digits of Social Security number to cast a provisional ballot. Voters can take off as long as needed to vote, although only salaried employees will be paid. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Oklahoma
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must provide a government-issued photo ID or county election board voter ID cards. Voters who have neither can cast a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, but can take “sufficient” additional time if required. Employees must give notice one day before Election Day and provide proof of voting, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 12.

Oregon
There are no polling hours or time-off laws because all voting is done by mail. Voters must provide a driver’s license or state ID card number before voting by mail. Registration ended Oct. 16.

Pennsylvania
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. First-time voters and voters using a new polling place for the first time must show ID, but it does not have to include a photo. Voters without ID can cast a provisional ballot. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 9.

Rhode Island
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present photo ID, but they can cast a provisional ballot without photo ID if their signature matches the one on the voter registration record. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 7.

South Carolina
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID, and they can receive a free photo ID at a voter registration office by providing name, date of birth and last four digits of Social Security number. There is no time-off law for voting, but employees can request an absentee ballot if they must be at work or commuting during polling hours. Registration ended Oct. 17.

South Dakota
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID or sign an affidavit confirming identity. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 22.

Tennessee
Polls open between 7 and 9 a.m., depending on the county; the secretary of state’s website has a guide to when each county’s polling places open. For the part of the state on central time, polls close at 7 p.m. For the part on eastern time (ET), polls close at 8 p.m. Voters must present a government-issued voter ID. Employees can take off up to three paid hours to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. Employees must give notice by noon on Election Day, and employers can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 7.

Texas
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID, but voters who say they can’t obtain a photo ID can present non-photo ID and fill out a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration” to cast a regular ballot. Voters can take paid time off for as long as needed to vote, unless they have at least two hours available before or after work. Registration ended Oct. 7.

Utah
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present ID with name and photo, or two forms of ID with name and address. Employees can take off up to two paid hours to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. Employees must provide notice before election day, and employers can determine the off hours, although employees can request to have time off at the start or end of a shift. Voters can register on Election

Vermont
Polls open between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., depending on the town, and all polls close at 7 p.m. Use the Secretary of State’s website to find when your polling place opens. There is no voter ID requirement except for first-time voters who registered by mail. There is no time-off law. Voters can register on Election Day.

Virginia
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a photo ID, or else cast a provisional ballot. There is no time-off law. Registration ended Oct. 15.

Washington state
There are no polling hours, time-off laws or voter ID requirements because all voting is done by mail. Registration ended Oct. 29.

Washington, D.C.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no voter ID requirement, but first-time voters who didn’t provide proof of residence when registering by mail must provide proof of residence, and voters unable to produce ID can cast a special ballot and must show ID to the Board of Election within two days of the election. There is no time-off law. Voters can register on Election Day.

West Virginia
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters must present ID at the polls, but it does not have to include a photo. Employees can take off up to three paid hours to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. Employees must give notice at least three days before Election Day, and employers in certain industries can determine the off hours. Registration ended Oct. 16.

Wisconsin
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must present photo ID. Voters can take off up to three unpaid hours to vote. They must provide notice before Election Day, and employers can determine the off hours. Voters can register on Election Day.

Wyoming
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Only first-time voters must present ID, and it does not have to include a photo. Employees can take off up to one paid hour to vote, unless they have at least three hours available before or after work. Voters can register on Election Day.

Author

Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

Staff Writer
Phone
Email

Leave a Reply