Why Voting In Midterm Elections Is Essential

From The Minnesota Secretary Of State



Every two years, Americans gather to elect the United States House of Representatives, as well as vote on a wide variety of local ballot measures. Depending on the year and the state you live in, you may vote for your Congressperson, Senators, and Governor. These races are collectively known as midterm elections, as they occur at the halfway point of the Presidential term.

Midterm elections have massive consequences on a local, state, and federal level. That’s why becoming an active, informed voter is essential. Before this year’s midterms on Tuesday, November 8, here’s what you should know about what’s at stake.

Up and down the ballot, we can vote for leaders who will prioritize justice—but only if people show up to vote in record numbers. Just 50% of eligible voters in Minnesota voted in the 2014 midterms.

Midterms give voters the chance to elect a Congressperson who will represent their district in the United States House of Representatives.

While Congressional elections do not individually see as much press coverage as senate or presidential races, they are still extremely important and will impact national legislation for the next two years.

Essential info:

  • Absentee voting: All registered voters can cast a no-excuse absentee ballot and vote from home. But you’ll need another registered voter or a notary as a witness.
  • Early in-person voting: Cast an absentee ballot early and in person at your county election office from Sept. 23 through Nov. 7 for the general election.
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. In most of the state, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What’s new this year?

Minnesota has approved new U.S. congressional and state legislative maps based on the 2020 census. The redrawing of the state’s district boundaries may change which candidates appear on your ballot and where you vote.

What races are on the ballot?

  • Governor: Former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), Incumbent Gov. Tim Walz (D)
  • U.S. House: all 8 seats
  • State Senate: all 67 seats
  • State House: all 134 seats
  • Other statewide offices

How do I register to vote?

If you missed the registration deadlines or would prefer to register in person, you can do so at your polling place on Election Day, Nov. 8. You’ll need an approved form of ID, such as a Minnesota driver’s license or state-issued ID. If you don’t have one, you’ll need a photo ID, such as a U.S. passport or military card, along with a bill, lease or other document that confirms your name and address. A full list of ID requirements is on the state election website.

Check your registration status using the state’s online voter information portal.

Do I need identification to vote?

If your voter registration is current and active, you do not need to bring ID. If you need to register or update your registration, or haven’t voted in more than four years, proof of residence may be required. Valid forms of ID include a Minnesota driver’s license or Minnesota state ID. You can also show a photo ID plus a document with your current name and address. A full list of acceptable IDs is on the secretary of state’s website.

In the U.S., no one is required by law to vote in any local, state, or presidential election. According to the U.S. Constitution, voting is a right.  So, make your voice heard this coming November 8th and get out and vote.

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