Americans who were shocked by the result of the 2016 presidential election do not have to wait four years to make an impact. While President-elect Donald Trump will not be up for re-election until 2020, voters will have the opportunity to have their voices heard in 2018 at the midterm elections.
Every two years, voters elect members for the two chambers of Congress: the Senate and House of Representatives. Each state has equal representation in the Senate with two senators each serving six-year terms. As for the House, the number of representatives vary state-by-state based on population, with each serving two-year terms. For example, New York has 27 representatives while Hawaii has two.
All members of the House and an estimated one-third of the Senate are up for re-election during midterm elections. The Republican party continues to have control over Congress after Tuesday's election, with a majority in both the Senate (51 Republican - 47 Democrat) and the House (238 Republican - 191 Democrat). In 2018, at the halfway point of the president's term, citizens will have the option to show their approval or disapproval by casting votes for members of Congress.
Generally speaking, midterm elections have a lower turnout than presidential elections. The 2014 election marked a 72-year low when only 36.4% of eligible voters showed up to cast ballots. The last time voter turnout was that low was in 1942. Even though the turnout is typically smaller, these elections have political value — Congress decides which laws get passed and which do not, thereby influencing our day-to-day lives.
The 2018 midterm elections take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. American citizens 18 years of age and older at the time will be eligible to vote. Mark you calendars.