Midterm elections: Americans to decide fate of Congress

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are up for election

Voters in Columbus, Ohio, cast their ballots during early voting at the Franklin County Board of Elections on the eve of the US midterms. AFP
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Follow the latest news on the US midterm elections 2022

In Tuesday's midterm elections, Americans will head to the polls to determine which party will be in control of the US Congress — and the outcome will have a significant effect on the final two years of President Joe Biden's term.

Mr Biden, Democratic and Republican politicians, as well as former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have spent months campaigning across the country for candidates for US Congress and state governorships.

This year, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one third of the seats in the 100-member Senate are up for election. Thirty-six governorships are also at stake.

The US Congress explained

- Congress is one of three branches of the US government, and the one that creates the nation's federal laws

- Congress is divided into two chambers: The House of Representatives and the Senate

- The House is made up of 435 members based on a state's population. House members are up for election every two years

- A bill must be approved by both the House and Senate before it goes to the president's desk for signature

- A political party needs 218 seats to be in control of the House of Representatives

- The Senate is comprised of 100 members, with each state receiving two senators. Senate members serve six-year terms

- A political party needs 51 seats to control the Senate. In the case of a 50-50 tie, the party of the president controls the Senate

When are the midterms?

Congressional elections take place every two years, but are called the “midterms” when they fall in the middle of a president's term in office.

This year's midterm elections take place on November 8.

But many voters have already submitted their ballots either in person or via mail through the early voting process.

More than 40 million ballots have already been cast, surpassing 2018's total of 39.1 million, data from the United States Elections Project shows.

Why are the midterms important?

The party in control of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be in control of the congressional agenda for the next two years.

Democrats have used their congressional power to pass some of Mr Biden's most important domestic policy legislation, including the infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act and the first gun control bill in decades.

Should Republicans win both chambers, they will eviscerate Mr Biden's agenda for the remaining two years of his term.

Republicans could also scale back funding to Ukraine as well as establish panels to investigate the president's son Hunter, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and more.

The elections will also serve as a precursor for the 2024 presidential election. Mr Trump, who is likely to claim credit for Republican victories, is expected to announce a renewed bid for the White House on the heels of the midterms.

What are the major issues facing voters this year?

The economy is the most important issue for US voters this year, data from Gallup show. Abortion rights and crime also are rated as important by voters.

Gun control, immigration and climate change remain partisan issues.

What do the latest polls show?

The Democratic Party is currently in control of both chambers of Congress.

But history has shown that the party of the incumbent president often falters during the midterms. Democrats are expected to suffer a similar fate this year.

Polling data compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows Republicans with an 82.5 per cent chance of retaking the House. Republicans are expected to pick up 17 seats, enough to win control.

The Senate is also in play for Republicans, who currently are two seats shy of a majority. The party is looking at the battleground states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona to secure the sweep of Congress.

FiveThirtyEight's aggregate shows the Republican Party has a 54 per cent chance of winning the Senate by picking up two coveted seats.

Updated: November 08, 2022, 11:55 AM
The US Congress explained

- Congress is one of three branches of the US government, and the one that creates the nation's federal laws

- Congress is divided into two chambers: The House of Representatives and the Senate

- The House is made up of 435 members based on a state's population. House members are up for election every two years

- A bill must be approved by both the House and Senate before it goes to the president's desk for signature

- A political party needs 218 seats to be in control of the House of Representatives

- The Senate is comprised of 100 members, with each state receiving two senators. Senate members serve six-year terms

- A political party needs 51 seats to control the Senate. In the case of a 50-50 tie, the party of the president controls the Senate

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