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Midterm elections 2022: US voters head to polls as Republicans tipped for sweeping gains – live | US midterm elections 2022

Key events

An estimated 8.3m young Americans are eligible to vote for the first time this election. The question remains how many of them – and other young voters – will turn out to the polls.

When it comes to younger voters, the stakes are higher for Democrats than Republicans: 57% of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 favor a Democrat-controlled Congress over Republican control. But younger voters also tend to vote less than older voters (though more voted in 2020 than ever before).

Early data has shown that young voters have been turning out in smaller fractions compared to the 2020 election. But young voters are less likely to vote early or by mail, so it’s too early to tell exactly what their turnout will be today.

Still, amid the uncertainty, some young voters have already visited the polls today. One mom in Georgia, Christy Houchins, an immigrant from Laos who became a citizen, brought her daughter to the polls today, according to Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

This is Lauren Aratani taking over for Martin Belam.

More polls have opened up around the country, and many voters have already casted their ballots this morning. Here are some pictures that have been taken at polling places around the country as election day gets rolling.

Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Freedom, Ohio.
Freedom, Ohio. Photograph: David Maxwell/EPA
Phoenix, Arizona.
Phoenix, Arizona. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi

In the past, midterm elections have been kind of predictable. The president is slightly unpopular, his party loses some seats and most voters disappear for two years until they turn up in greater numbers for the main show.

This year might not buck any of those long-term trends. The Democratic president Joe Biden has watched his popularity slump from 53% to 42% over the past year. Polls suggest that Republicans will win the House of Representatives and might even win the Senate too (though if they do, it’s likely to be by a narrower margin). And even though turnout is looking set to be historically high by midterm standards, it’s unlikely to beat the numbers in 2020. So, it’s all pretty much electoral business as usual, right?

Not quite. Here are some of the factors that could shape the votes that come in over the next few days – and, as a result, shape the country over the next few years.


Under Trump, gerrymandering and other anti-democratic measures scaled up. There have been concerns about the way that kind of partisan redistricting might play out in this year’s elections – where the electoral district is purple, this is likely to work in Republicans’ favor including parts of Texas and Florida.

But, as the New York Times pointed out in September, this might not wind up being such a huge advantage for Republicans. While it’s true that the map does work in their favor, the edge isn’t insurmountable for Democrats (and it certainly isn’t irreversible either).


In the space of just six months, 22 new laws were passed in 2021 that restricted people’s access to vote in 14 states. Research from the Brennan centre has indicated that voter suppression is at its worst level in over a decade. Whether those laws make it hard to count mail-in ballots or make it difficult to vote in person, their overall effect tends to disenfranchise those who are already disempowered by other systems in the country – whether it’s people with disabilities or people of color who are more likely to be affected by voter ID laws. It’s also worth pointing out that laws like these are uncommon in most other countries that call themselves democracies.

Republicans have led these efforts in the hopes that voter access laws will work in their favor.

Abortion and the economy

Sure, there are the same ideological arguments about immigration and the economy that show up in any election but this year feels different. There is a general atmosphere of distrust fueled by attacks on election officials and lies about “stolen” ballots that has led some to feel that they are voting about democracy itself. And, since the supreme court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision was overturned in June, this year’s vote has for many felt like a vote about abortion access. Even the economy has taken on a greater urgency than in recent midterms with rising consumer prices squeezing many US household budgets.

Lastly, polling is still deeply problematic so all predictions about the House and the Senate should be treated with caution until the votes are counted. A Wall Street Journal survey that found white suburban women are switching parties was based on just 297 respondents (which, shockingly, is actually a pretty good response rate for such a specific slice of the country). That kind of research is not only imprecise but it has the potential to be undemocratic when headlines tell voters what the future looks like before they have even had their say.

Read more of Mona Chalabi’s analysis here:

Officials in Philadelphia have said that counting votes will take longer than expected after a last minute u-turn to reinstate what is known as poll book reconciliation. The process, described as “time consuming and labor-intensive” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, is used to flag mail ballots submitted by voters who also voted in person.

City officials had agreed last week not to use it, but following a flurry of Republican lawsuits at an emergency meeting this morning just as polls opened, they reversed the decision. It could have an impact on how quickly the Pennsylvania senate race can be called.

Jason Lange is in Washington for Reuters and he has a warning – be ready for a long night and maybe days of waiting before it is clear whether Republicans or President Joe Biden’s Democrats will control Congress.

He reports that with dozens of races expected to be close and key states like Pennsylvania already warning it could take days to count every ballot, experts say there’s a good chance America goes to bed on election night without knowing who won.

“When it comes to knowing the results, we should move away from talking about election day and think instead about election week,” said Nathan Gonzales, who publishes the nonpartisan newsletter Inside Elections.

Because Democrats vote by mail more often than Republicans, states that let officials get an early jump on counting mail ballots could report big Democratic leads early on that evaporate as vote counters work through piles of Republican-leaning ballots that were cast on election day.

In these “blue mirage” states – which include Florida and North Carolina – election officials are allowed to remove mail ballots from their envelopes before election day and load them in vote counting machines, allowing for speedy counting.

States including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin don’t allow officials to open the envelopes until election day, leading to a possible “red mirage” in which Republican-leaning election day ballots are reported earlier, with many Democratic-leaning mail ballots counted later.

Experts like Joe Lenski, co-founder of Edison Research, which will be tracking hundreds of races on Tuesday and supplying Reuters and other media organizations with results, will keep an eye on the mix of different types of ballots each state is counting throughout the night.

“Blue mirage, red mirage, whatever. You just have to look at what types of votes are getting reported to know where you are in that state,” said Lenski.

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

A number of candidates will make history if they prevail in their races today. In particular, the departure of 46 members from the House of Representatives has created an opening for a new class of young and diverse candidates to seek federal office.

Maxwell Frost, Democratic congressional candidate for Florida’s district 10.
Maxwell Frost, Democratic congressional candidate for Florida’s district 10. Photograph: Lynne Sladky/AP

Two House candidates, Democrat Maxwell Frost of Florida and Republican Karoline Leavitt of New Hampshire, would become the first Gen Z members of Congress if they win their elections. Leavitt would also set a record as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she can defeat Democrat Chris Pappas in their hotly contested race, which is considered a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.

New Hampshire Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Karoline Leavitt.
New Hampshire Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Karoline Leavitt. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

In Vermont, Democrat Becca Balint is favored to win her House race, which would make her the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ politician to represent the state in Congress. If Balint wins, all 50 US states will have sent at least one woman to Congress, as Vermont became the sole outlier on that metric in 2018.

Some House races will even make history regardless of which party’s candidate prevails. In New York’s third congressional district, either Democrat Robert Zimmerman or Republican George Devolder-Santos will become the first openly gay person to represent Long Island in the House.

As Republicans look to take back the House, their playbook has relied upon nominating a diverse slate of candidates in battleground districts that will probably determine control of the lower chamber. The strategy builds upon the party’s momentum from 2020, when Republicans flipped 14 House districts where they nominated a woman or a person of color.

Overall, Republicans have nominated 67 candidates of color in House races, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Those candidates could allow the party to dramatically expand its ranks of members of color, given that just 19 non-white Republicans serve in the House now. With Republicans heavily favored to take back the House, many of those candidates of color could join the new session of Congress in January.

Read more of Joan E Greve’s report here: Midterm elections – the candidates who will make history if they win

Here are some of the earliest images we’ve been sent over the newswires of people voting in-person as polling gets underway in today’s crucial midterm elections in the US.

Voters walk near a polling location at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Voters walk near a polling location at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Quinn Glabicki/Reuters
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the midterm elections in Rydal, Pennsylvania.
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the midterm elections in Rydal, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP
A local resident waits in line to cast her ballot during the midterm elections at Calvary Baptist Church in Austell, Georgia.
A local resident waits in line to cast her ballot during the midterm elections at Calvary Baptist Church in Austell, Georgia. Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

Paul J Webber and Acacia Coronado have been in Austin, Texas for Associated Press, and report on a trio of US House races in South Texas which carry high stakes. For decades Republicans rarely bothered to compete along the US-Mexico border, but have made the heavily Hispanic region a priority in their pursuit of retaking control of Congress.

The unusually competitive atmosphere in South Texas, including for Democratic US Rep Henry Cuellar, underlines the shifting political winds in an important stronghold for Democrats — and the ramifications beyond this election.

For Republicans, victories by any of three Latina candidates running for House seats in the region — Rep Mayra Flores, Monica De La Cruz and Cassy Garcia — would deepen inroads the Republican party is making nationally with Hispanic voters, and demoralise Democrats in a place that has long been their turf.

US Representative Mayra Flores (R) takes a photo with a supporter at a campaign event in Mcallen, Texas in October.
US Representative Mayra Flores (R) takes a photo with a supporter at a campaign event in Mcallen, Texas in October. Photograph: Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images

In a sign of Republican optimism, Gov Greg Abbott was hosting his Election Night party in the border city of McAllen, reflecting Republican eagerness to show conservatives are expanding their territory.

The Republicans unleashed an aggressive play for South Texas after counties up and down the border swung toward former president Donald Trump in 2020, stunning Democrats who viewed the region safe and creating a new battleground overnight. Millions of dollars have since poured into the region, and all three Republican House candidates out-raised their Democratic opponents this summer.

Underscoring the intensity of the races heading into Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton swung through South Texas on Monday to campaign for the Democratic party. Big-name Republicans have also swooped into the region, including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy over the weekend.

The most widely seen competitive race was in the 15th Congressional District, where De La Cruz and Democrat Michelle Vallejo were competing to represent one of the two new US House districts that Texas was awarded last year following the release of new census figures.

Former President Bill Clinton and Democratic candidate for Texas' 15th Congressional District Michelle Vallejo in Edinburg, Texas on Monday.
Former President Bill Clinton and Democratic candidate for Texas’ 15th Congressional District Michelle Vallejo in Edinburg, Texas on Monday. Photograph: Delcia Lopez/AP

Neither candidate was running to the middle with their policy platforms. De La Cruz has defended abortion restrictions, promised tougher border security measures and drew praise from Trump during a recent rally in Texas. Vallejo has courted liberal voters in a progressive campaign that has called for a $15 an hour minimum wage and challenged conventional wisdom that Democrats along the border are more moderate.

Andrew Gawthorpe is a historian of the United States at Leiden University and host of the podcast America Explained, and he writes for the Guardian today to argue that the future of American democracy is at stake in the midterm elections:

Never before in American history has there been an organized movement which was only one vote away from having the motivation and opportunity to make that election America’s last. Never that is, until now. Today’s anti-democratic movement is propelled not by genuine controversy or scandal, but rather by their commitment to ending competitive elections in the United States. There is no other way to interpret their belief that only one side, the Republicans, can legitimately be considered to win, and the plans that they hold to make this belief a reality.

The problems can be expected to start this November, when Republican candidates who lose will question the validity of the results and try to stir unrest. State officials who do win will begin to act on their plans to sabotage future polls by centralizing power in their own offices, de-registering millions of voters, and moving to error-prone hand-counting systems. Then, if voter suppression doesn’t prevent a Democratic win in 2024, they’ll just suppress the evidence instead and announce that they are sending Republican electors to the electoral college. Meanwhile, the majority of Republican House candidates in 2022 are election-deniers, and a Republican-controlled Congress might attempt to sabotage the certification of the presidential vote on 6 January 2025.

Each of these potential points of failure threatens the integrity of the 2024 presidential election. The breadth and depth of the anti-democratic movement also means that they are likely to pose other problems which are difficult to anticipate. Whatever means they find of sabotaging the vote, it would be foolish to rely on the conservative-dominated supreme court to stop them, particularly if the country has been plunged into civil unrest and violence.

Read more here: Andrew Gawthorpe – The future of American democracy is at stake in the midterm elections

If you would like something to listen to about the US midterm elections, then Today in Focus is for you. Today’s edition is called US midterms: is it still the economy, stupid? and it features the Guardian’s Washington correspondent Lauren Gambino talking to Michael Safi.

She tells him that the Democratic party has learned the hard way to keep its election campaigns laser-focused on the economy. “It’s the economy, stupid,” a slogan used in Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, has resonated down the ages. But Democrats have spent much of the past few months campaigning on women’s rights after the seismic supreme court decision removing the constitutional right to abortion. And Joe Biden used his final major speech of the campaign to warn voters of the threat to democracy itself.

Democrats go into these elections lagging in the polls, she says, and it’s left some hardened campaigners, such as Bernie Sanders, wondering if the party has neglected its most famous mantra.

You can listen to it here:

Joe Biden had a late night last night, after appearing at a rally in Maryland, where he said “Our lifetimes are going to be shaped by what happens the next year to three years. It’s going to shape what the next couple decades look like.”

Joan E Greve was in Bowie, Maryland for the Guardian, and reported that Biden repeated his promise to shore up abortion rights if Democrats expand their congressional majorities. The president and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, arrived back at the White House at around 1.20am.

US President Joe Biden arrives back at the White House in the early hours after participating in a rally in Maryland on the eve of midterm elections.
US President Joe Biden arrives back at the White House in the early hours after participating in a rally in Maryland on the eve of midterm elections. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning has been touting a series of quotes from voters in the area which highlight the different priorities of Republican and Democratic party voters. Here are four quotes that they picked for their newsletter today:

“It feels like a critical time. We’ve got to pick a path, and the path that we’re on is not right,” Nate DeFazio, a small business owner worried about inflation, said outside of a Mehmet Oz rally.

“If we do not maintain a majority in the Senate, Roe falling will be just the beginning,” Ronna Dewey, 54, said at a John Fetterman rally.

“It’s really important to me to be able to graduate high school and enter adulthood in a state of having all my rights intact and not feeling like, ‘Oh, I wish I’d graduated 10 years ago,’” said Jordan Bailkin, a Democratic high school senior who is voting for the first time.

“Personal freedom and the freedom to dissent – I feel that both of those things are under attack,” Jason Dekker, a conservative from York County said.

Overnight Stephen Collinson at CNN offered this analysis of how – and why – he expects things to pan out in favor of the Republicans in the next few days. He writes:

It’s too early for postmortems. Forty million Americans have already voted. And the uncertainty baked into modern polling means no one can be sure a red wave is coming. Democrats could still cling onto the Senate even if the House falls.

But the way each side is talking on election eve, and the swathe of blue territory – from New York to Washington state – that Democrats are defending offer a clear picture of Republican momentum.

A nation split down the middle politically, which is united only by a sense of dissatisfaction with its trajectory, is getting into a habit of repeatedly using elections to punish the party with the most power.

That means Democrats are most exposed this time.

If the president’s party takes a drubbing, there will be much Democratic finger-pointing over Biden’s messaging strategy on inflation – a pernicious force that has punched holes in millions of family budgets.

Just as in last year’s losing off-year gubernatorial race in Virginia, Democrats are closing the campaign warning about democracy and Trump’s influence while Republicans believe they are addressing the issue voters care about most.

When will we know who won US midterm races — and what to expect on election day

Sam Levine

We probably won’t know the winners on election night

In many races, we’re not going to know who won on election night. After the polls close, candidate vote totals are likely to shift as local officials continue to count ballots.

Once the polls close, election workers tabulate the votes in each precinct and transmit them to the county’s central election office. Each county reports their results to the state.

Vote totals are likely to shift throughout the evening as well as in the days that follow election day as votes continue to be counted. That shift isn’t unusual and can be explained by two dynamics, said Charles Stewart III, a political science professor at MIT who specializes in election administration.

First, he said, the places that report their votes first tend to be smaller, Republican jurisdictions. Second, many places report their in-person election day vote first and their mail-in absentee vote later. Those votes tend to skew towards Democrats.

Because these totals can change, there should be deep skepticism of attempts to claim victory before votes are counted.

Projections about which candidates will win are separate from official results

As officials report election results, news organizations, including the Associated Press and major television networks, scrutinize data to try to make projections about which candidate will win. This process is independent of the official election efforts to count votes.

In some races, experts are able to quickly make a projection about who is going to win a race. If a candidate from one party has consistently won a race, for example, and the voting patterns on election night appear to immediately be in line with previous elections, news organizations may feel confident in making a projection with only a fraction of the vote counted.

But in competitive races where there’s a slim margin between the candidates, and a lot of the vote hasn’t been reported yet, experts are much more cautious and will not make a prediction.

As the vote count continues, forecasters compare the margin separating the candidate with where in the state there are still votes outstanding. Once they feel confident that there’s no path to victory for one candidate, they will declare a winner.

Some will claim that they see election errors (and most will turn out to be false)

Every election day, there are voters who claim to see something amiss at the polls or during the vote counting process. In 2020, many of those claims were loudly amplified by Donald Trump and continue to live on today, even though they’ve been debunked over and over again.

In 2022, we’re likely to hear similar claims. Each one of those should be taken with a “giant grain of salt”, David Becker, the founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said. “I would look at any claim from anyone saying that, regardless of party of election, highly skeptically.

“These things are largely driven by losing candidates or candidates that expect to lose,” he added. The claims, he said, are “almost always proven to be false. Or easily explainable.”

In 2020, for example, there were claims from observers about ballots being wheeled into a central counting facility in Detroit late during election night. Those ballots had already been verified by the local election office and there was nothing wrong with their late arrival time. The claim was nonetheless touted by those who sought to sow doubt about the election results.

You can read more from Sam Levine’s explainer here: When will we know who won US midterm races — and what to expect on election day

If you missed it last night, here is the clip of former US president Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Ohio, saying he will be making a “big announcement” on 15 November, hinting that he will mount a 2024 presidential run.

“I’m going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, 15 November at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump told supporters at the rally for Republican Senate candidate JD Vance. Trump declined to elaborate, saying he did not want to “detract from tomorrow’s very important, even critical election”.

Donald Trump teases ‘big announcement’ on eve of midterm elections – video

Polls open for midterms voting

Polls have opened in some parts of the US for the 2022 midterm elections, so called because they fall halfway through a president’s – in this case, Joe Biden’s – presidency and so are often seen as a referendum on the incumbent.

Many voters have already cast their ballots, with more than 41 million people taking part in early voting.

At stake are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 36 state governorships, along with numerous other races for local officials and mayors.

Republicans need to gain five seats to win a majority in the House and only one to take the Senate. Typically, an incumbent president’s party expects to lose House seats in the midterms, but this year’s races are being closely watched for any gains for election-denying candidates: Republicans who still believe the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, some of whom actively worked to overturn the result that put Biden in the White House.

In 36 states, other issues are on the ballot, including laws on abortion in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont.

We will have all the news and results on our live blog, so stay tuned.

Nimo Omer

Nimo Omer

Nimo Omer spoke to David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief, about why these midterms matter so much and what the results could mean for America:

There are a number of contests that everyone is keeping a very close eye on. Perhaps the biggest is Georgia: “The rule used to be whichever way Florida goes, so goes the nation,” says David, but “Georgia has, in many ways, replaced Florida as the pivotal state in the nation.”

Georgia’s senate race is extremely important. Raphael Warnock’s win in 2021 was key to the Democrats securing control of the senate. Now Warnock faces off against Herschel Walker, a former football player who “has no discernible political experience or qualifications”, David says. Walker has been embroiled in controversy for a year as stories of his affairs, extramarital children and allegations of domestic violence came to light. Most recently, a former girlfriend asserted that he paid for for her to have an abortion, despite Walker running on a hardline anti-abortion platform.

And Georgia is also where Democratic favourite (and Star Trek’s president of a United Earth), Stacey Abrams, will again try to wrestle the governership from Brian Kemp. A victory for Abrams would ensure voting and abortion rights are bolstered in the state.

Other races to watch out for are Ohio, where author of Hillbilly Elegy, Trump critic turned sycophant JD Vance is running: “If Democrats win in a state that has really been trending Republican in recent years, there’ll be a lot of blame on Vance and perhaps Donald Trump for backing him,” David says.

Pennsylvania, home of Joe Biden, is another crucial state with TV personality Dr Mehmet Oz running against the 6’8” tattooed lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, in the senate race. Oz secured a Trump endorsement, as did Doug Mastriano, who is running for governor of the same state. Mastriano was part of the effort to overturn the 2020 elections and appeared outside the US Capitol during January 6 riots. He could be a key part of a Trump presidential run in 2024.

“It feels as if there are two separate campaigns and conversations happening, that are operating on different planets,” David says. “In the past, at least, there was a shared set of issues, and both parties would be looking to be the best on inflation or healthcare.”

Republicans have focused on inflation, specifically petrol prices, and the cost of living crisis. They have also made characteristic campaign points about crime and other culture war topics such as immigration. Conversely, Democrats have been focused on reproductive rights following the supreme court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, as well as the threats to democracy, voting rights and the climate crisis. “A lot of opinion polls are suggesting that Republicans’ issues are likely to win the day, because so often, people vote according to their pocketbook and the economy,” says David.

Read more of Nimo Omer’s conversation with David Smith in today’s First Edition: Tuesday briefing – What you need to know ahead of US midterms

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the US midterm elections. As my colleague Nimo Omer wrote in today’s First Edition newsletter, ballots will be cast for senators, representatives and local officials in one of the most important contests in recent years. She added that it has become tiresome to describe every American election as uniquely significant, but there is a lot at stake with these midterms as the chasm between Democrats and Republicans grows ever wider, and the supreme court decision to no longer protect abortion rights hangs in the air.

The result of the election also has global implications, as concerns are expressed that a Republican win might dampen US enthusiasm for pouring financial and military aid into Ukraine’s war for survival against the latest Russia invasion of its territory. And the outcome will set the stage for the presidential election battle to come during the next two years – a race which looks likely now to feature a certain Donald J Trump.

We will have non-stop rolling live coverage of the election over the next couple of days, so I hope you will join us.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2022/nov/08/us-midterms-election-2022-house-senate-midterm-voting-republicans-democrats-live-news-latest-updates Midterm elections 2022: US voters head to polls as Republicans tipped for sweeping gains – live | US midterm elections 2022

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