Volunteers help a man vote in Maryland.
It’s time for Americans to cast their votes in the midterm elections. These elections are called “midterm” because they take place in the middle of the president’s four-year term. The midterm elections help shape government at the local, state, and national levels. Because of this, it is important that citizens turn out to vote.
During the midterm elections, Americans elect members of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of the House serve two-year terms. This means that during midterm elections all 435 House seats are on the ballot. Members of the Senate serve six-year terms. For midterm elections, only about one-third of senators are on the ballot.
Members of Congress are important because they make the country’s laws. They also control the federal budget. This means that they decide what the government spends money on. In addition, the political makeup of Congress can affect the power of the president.
In the United States, there are two main political parties—the Democrats and Republicans. The party with the majority of seats controls Congress. This makes it easier for that party to pass bills. If the president is also from that party, it is more likely that those bills will become laws.
After the 2020 election, Democrats had a slim majority in Congress. Experts are predicting a possible change in majority giving Republicans control of Congress in 2023. However, because Democrat Joe Biden remains president, the two parties will have to work together to pass laws.
Midterm elections are also important at the state and local levels. The election of state and local officials helps shape decisions within each state and community. Governors are elected every four years. In many states, these elections fall in the same years as the midterm elections. Local officials on the ballot during midterm elections might include mayors, judges, and dozens of other officials. These elected state and local leaders work together to make important decisions in communities across the United States.
In the United States, only citizens over the age of 18 are allowed to vote. However, those under 18 can still participate in the election process. They can volunteer, stay informed on issues, and voice their opinions while encouraging others to vote.