President Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot this November, but both Democrats and Republicans are acting like he is.
As Trump faces the first midterm election of his presidency, both sides are hoping to boost turnout by reminding their grassroots supporters of their feelings about him.
Democrats are hoping that Trump’s divisive rhetoric and controversial actions will boost them among women voters while driving higher-than-normal turnout among young and minority voters, who tend to not show up in midterms as much.
But many Republicans feel that Trump could also turn out white male and older voters, with some seeing the recent fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a spark.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence crisscrossed the country giving rallies aimed at the party faithful in the run up to the midterms, while Democrats turned to figures like former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Here’s what you need to know about voting in the 2018 midterm elections.
What are the midterm elections?
Midterm elections are held every two years and in the middle of a presidential term. Members of the United States Congress are up for election, including all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate.
Midterms are important because whichever party holds the majority in Congress can set the national legislative agenda. Republicans currently have the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but are currently projected to lose the House.
Turnout is often an important factor in midterm elections, which tend to have lower turnout than presidential election years. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that Millennials and Gen-X’ers are less likely to show up to the polls compared to voters from the Baby Boomer generation, which has driven high-profile Democrats, including former first lady Michelle Obama, to lead the When We All Vote campaign, pushing younger voters to participate in this year’s midterms.
When are the midterm elections?
The midterm elections are being held today, on Tuesday, Nov. 6. However, in Louisiana, the state’s primary elections will be held on Nov. 6 while the general election will take place on Dec. 8.
Which states have same-day voter registration?
While voter registration deadlines vary by state, certain states have same-day registration, which allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot almost immediately.
In total, 19 states have implemented same-day voter registration: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Maryland and North Carolina have same-day registration only during the early voting period, while Washington state has passed same-day voting registration but has not yet implemented it.
All same-day voters need to register is proof of residency at the time of registration or soon after registering, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In most states, a driver’s license or ID card is valid. In some states, a paycheck or utility bill with an address is acceptable for proving residency.
Voters are also required to present identification to verify identity. While some states require photo ID’s others accept ID’s without photos.
Where do I go to vote in the midterm elections?
While your state or local election office is usually the best source of information on elections in your area, USA.gov allows voters to enter their state or territory and provides links to the state’s election center. Many election office websites are updated frequently with any new information regarding locations and candidates.
Polling sites are usually open from early hours into late afternoon, and Ballotpedia has a list of state poll opening and closing times.
The U.S. Vote Foundation is another source for election dates and deadlines.
Who are my candidates in the midterm elections?
There are some high-profile candidates running for re-election today, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is facing a challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Texas has not had a Democratic senator in about 25 years, but O’Rourke has raised nearly $24 million for his campaign. Some prominent Democrats — including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — are also running for re-election.
There are plenty of toss-up races to keep an eye on this November. Republican Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is in a neck-and-neck race with Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. In Missouri, GOP state Attorney General Josh Hawley is looking to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, capitalizing on support from Trump, who won Missouri by a wide margin during the 2016 election. In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is facing a serious challenge from Gov. Rick Scott, who has been releasing television ads and campaigning since April. Polls for all these races have the candidates in a dead heat, meaning many of the races will come down to turnout.
To find the candidates in your district, go to the U.S. Federal Election Commission website and enter your zip code to find out who is running.