The midterm elections took place across the nation on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives but lost seats in the Senate. Throughout the country, various races took place with significant media coverage such as that of the Texas Senate race between Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Beto O’Rourke.
The voter turnout in the midterm broke records early on, with speculation suggesting that this was due to unusually high energy from both Democratic and Republican voters in the wake of intense media coverage of President Trump. Many have speculated that the votes were in reaction to actions and statements made by him. Exit polls suggested that part of the origin of this energy could be attributed to a sharp divide in the President’s approval rating by members of both parties with Republican approval ratings for the President faring significantly better than approval ratings by Democrats.
Though exact figures are unavailable this early on, estimates suggest the numbers could have been as high as 114 million ballots cast. This is a number that is not very far from the 138 million ballots cast during 2016’s general election and is considerably higher than the 91 million ballots cast during the 2010 midterm and the 83 million ballots cast during the 2014 midterm election.
Early voting numbers were also unusually high, and it has been reported that as many as 36 million voters nationwide appear likely to have made the choice to vote early instead of waiting until Election Day to cast their ballots.
The process of counting and verifying totals for each state is difficult and takes time, especially when states begin the work needed to count absentee ballots, which don’t always arrive on time coupled with the time needed to discover how many provisional ballots are actually eligible to be counted in the final results.
Though many races have been called already, some are still incomplete. In some states like Georgia, this is partially due to the possibility of second-round elections. Georgia’s gubernatorial race has been the subject of intense media coverage and the contentious race between Democratic nominee and Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and Republican nominee and Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Kemp. As of Nov. 9, Kemp has maintained a lead that is just barely over the threshold for a runoff election.
Though Kemp has maintained enough of a lead as of this time, there’s a chance his lead could drop below 50 percent, which would trigger a run-off election taking place Dec. 4.
Some of the congress-elects who are going to be going to Washington in January include a history-making Native American congresswoman-elect named Debra Haaland, who won a race in New Mexico and in doing so became one of the very first Native American congresswomen, as well as the first Native American congresswoman to come out of New Mexico, the last state to grant full suffrage to Native Americans.
Another unusual race happened in Nebraska where atheist Megan Hunt won a race to become a member of Nebraska’s unicameral state legislative chamber, and Megan is far from the only religious minority to win a race. Two Muslim women, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, a Palestinian-American in Michigan and a Somali woman who lives in Minnesota will become the country’s first Muslim congresswomen.
These are a handful of victories for women and for minorities in an election cycle that could be characterized as a women’s wave.