On November 6th, we witnessed an election that was predicted to be one of the biggest elections we’ve seen yet. Record numbers of women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and minorities ran and there were more younger candidates challenging incumbents in this election than ever before. In addition to this, youth turnout was higher during the 2018 midterm election than we’ve seen in presidential races, which is absolutely incredible and showed older generations that young adults are not only civic-minded, but we are ready to take our seat at the table. Election day can be slightly overwhelming, so here are some key takeaways from November 6th that you need to be aware of.
Democrats won the house.
The Republican party maintained the majority in the senate, however, Democrats surpassed the number of net seats needed to take the house by 10 seats. This balance will be incredibly interesting to watch as we see continue to the end of the Trump’s presidency following into the next election cycle.
Something that makes this incredible is the number of seats in districts that Trump had won in the 2016 election that were flipped by Democrats, which many are establishing as a result of the public response to his actions during the presidency.
110 women were elected from both parties.
98 women won the House and 12 women won the Senate, meaning that there will be 107 women overall in the chamber.
Not only were 110 strong, badass women elected to the senate, the house, and in other positions, but so many of these women represented many marginalized groups, career paths, sexual orientations, and truly added some much need diversity to the United States Federal Government.
Ayanna Pressley became the first black women to represent Massachusetts in Congress. Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar become Texas’s first two Latina congresswomen.
Sharice Davids became the very first Native American lesbian woman in congress by defeating Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas. Rashida Tlaib and IIhan Omar were elected to Congress, becoming the first Muslim women to do so. After gaining popularity on the internet earlier this year, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29 years old.
Youth turnout was on FIRE.
Thirty-one perfect of 18-29 voters from voted in the 2018 midterm elections, which is 10% higher than 2014 midterm youth turnout. Youth turnout surpassed 2014 midterm numbers for many college campuses across the country by a long shot. On social media, many campus organizers have posted videos of long lines outside campus polling locations, reflecting the change in perception of voting for many young people and the effects made by many on-campus groups that aim to raise civic participation in young people.
Not only are young people getting to the polls, but this year, 17% of voters were first-time voters.
Voter suppression is very, very real.
Many states have made efforts to make the process of voting much more accessible. Florida restored voting rights to more than a million individuals with felony records and other states approved measures for same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, and other initiatives.
However, many states took a step backwards and made voting much more difficult or inaccessible for many individuals, specifically minority voters. Some states are not requiring a photo ID to vote or have purged the voter registrations of those who have not voted in recent elections. In addition to this, an exact match law in Georgia that requires handwritten voter registrations to be identical to to personal documents resulted in 80% of black voters to have their registration status moved to “pending.” For Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, these efforts to suppress voter turnout are theorized to have played a key role in his victory on Tuesday.
Elections come and go, but each individual election has a long lasting effect on the United States that expands beyond any election cycle. In 2018, the midterms reflected that the United States is ready for women, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and young people to have a permanent seat at the table and we’re not backing down anytime soon.
Gif sourced from: https://giphy.com/