A New Voter’s Guide to Midterms


rawpixel.com / Carol M Highsmith

As November 8th quickly approaches, Capitol Hill gets ready for the midterms.

Every 2 years, one-third of Senate seats, and all of the house seats go up for grabs! When a general election takes place in the middle of a president’s term it’s called a midterm. On Tuesday, November 8th voting for the 118th Congress will begin. If you are coming of age to vote like me, here is your guide to everything you need to know about midterms to make your participation in democracy easy!

“Why is voting in the midterms important, isn’t the only election that matters the presidential?” Well, that’s actually a common misconception, but that is far from the truth. Congress is the closest form of representation to the people and has more power than the president. Congress has the power to make laws, control taxing and spending, regulate commerce, and even override a presidential veto.

In a midterm you, the voter, are voting for your district representative. And your states senator(s), if they are up for reelection. A representative’s term is 2 years and a Senator’s term is 6 years.

The first step in voting is actually registering to vote! Each state makes its own voting and election rules, including when and how to register. You can register at your local election office, online, or by using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. To register online go to Vote.gov and choose your state to begin the registration process. You must provide your date of birth and a valid ID. Whether that be a driver’s license, non-driver identification card, or social security number. If you choose to mail in your voter registration you can access the form by going to the U.S Election Assistance Commission website under “Resources for Voters”. After filling it out, mail it to the required address listed under your respective state. Each method will require a copy of your signature.

Before you hit the polls, remember it’s important to make an informed decision. Choose the candidate that you believe will represent you and your community best. Each candidate has their own website listing their stance on important issues, and the action they’re planning to take if elected to office.  

Make way, because bright and early November 8th polls open! To find your polling location go to your county’s website, in voting and elections, under polling places. There, each town will be listed with their polling locations. Or if you plan to participate by mail-in you must request a ballot. To do so fill out the absentee ballot application and mail or return it to your county clerk. 

When walking in to vote the day of,  you will check in with a poll worker. They will check your ID and ask you to verify your signature. Then you will be directed to your district’s polling station to wait. Once those curtains open it’s go time! The ballot will list one representative nominee from each party. And zero, one, or two senate nominee(s) from each party, depending on the number of seats up for reelection. 

While mail-in voting, to ensure your vote is counted you must fill out your ballot carefully. Make sure to read the instructions at the top and follow them. Use a pen with blue or black ink and fill in the spaces neatly. 

Once you cast your vote, it’s time to sit back and watch. If you are affiliated with a certain political party, make sure to keep up to date not only with your own election results but the results nationwide. The more seats filled by people who support issues you value, the easier It will be to pass laws regarding those issues. I recommend keeping a close eye on the states. President Biden flipped in the 2020 presidential election.

Good luck and happy voting!