The 411 on the November Midterm Elections

WHO: Voters are going to vote one of three ways: Republican, Democratic or Independent, but at the end of the day, control of the House of representatives and Senate, collectively known as Congress, is either going to be in the hands of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

WHAT: In summary, these midterm elections determine whether or not the Democrats or Republicans will control the House of Representatives, alongside elections that are up for the Senate seats as well. Both parties are highly motivated with a lot of the outcomes of a large number of states being defined as a toss-up, meaning they could go either way.

Regarding the Republican Party, they have a Republican president in office, a majority republican Senate, and a majority republican House of Representatives. This unified republican government in both houses of Congress has allowed for an unchecked conservative legislative agenda this last 2 years. If the republicans win in November, they would continue to push that agenda forward unopposed. Concerning the Democrats is the lack of any checks and balances on the republican agenda, and there has been hope for a “blue wave” further sparked by the confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month, amidst a slew of credible allegations that he had sexually assaulted a number of women. The Democrats, if they win the majority, would propose their own legislative agenda, slow down Trump’s existing legislative agenda, and likely open up investigations into Trump, Trump’s administration, and his associates.

To put it simply, all 435 seats are up for election in the House of Representatives and 35 are up for election in the Senate.

However, any one party needs 218 seats secured in order to win the majority in the House.

WHEN: Voting is held in person on November 6th statewide, and is open from 6 in the morning to 8 that night. If you are not voting in person, it is important to mail in your ballot before your state’s deadlines, as many people have already done. If you are voting in person on Election Day and it is your first time voting, it is important to bring the necessary documents in order to cast your vote. These documents are usually a government issues photograph ID (i.e. driver’s license, college issued ID card) and proof of residency (i.e. lease agreement, dorm contract), however it’s always listed on forms online what you will exactly need to vote in person on election day.

If you are registered to vote in another state, but currently attend a school in Maine and are at least 18 years of age, you can vote in person via absentee ballot.

For many states, the deadline to register has already passed. These states include Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Texas and more. However, in states such as Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, California, Idaho, Utah, Illinois and more, you can still register the day of the election. If you do not know how to register, you can always register the day of at a polling location as long as you bring the necessary documents talked about above. More deadlines per state and general information can be found here.

WHERE: Voting will be taking place at many locations across all 50 states. However, here in Maine, there are a number of locations you can go to vote.

 

If you live in Bangor, the closest polling location is the Cross Insurance Center at 515 Main Street.

 

If you live in Brewer, the closest polling location is the Brewer Auditorium at 318 Wilson St.

 

If you live in Orono, the closest polling location is the Orono Town Council Chambers at 59 Main Street.

 

If you live in Old Town, the closest polling location is at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 5 Gilman Falls Avenue.

 

If you live in Veazie, the closest polling location is at the Veazie Municipal Building, Council Chambers at 1084 Main Street.

 

If your town isn’t listed here, this link will allow you to find the closest polling location to your address, all you have to do to is put in your street number and street name.

WHY: Every single vote counts. Read that again. It is hard to believe that your single vote matters, and you may be tempted to sit this one out because you know that others will vote regardless, but I urge you to still cast your ballot. Now, is there a chance that your single vote will be a miraculous tiebreaker between the parties? Not likely. However, every single vote cast for these elections matters and either counts towards a win or a loss. The process is fairly quick and painless, but it allows you to exercise your right to vote and decide which issues will take precedent as we all continue to further our education at the University of Maine and beyond. These issues include education, health care, college costs at the state level, and many more that will directly affect us moving forward. If you have an opinion you want to voice, the best way to do so is to vote on November 6th.

 

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

See you at the polls!