Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is a midterm election. Midterm elections take place at the midterm of a four-year presidential term. Traditionally, midterm elections have a lower rate of voter turnout than in presidential years. In fact, in 2014 the percentage of eligible voters casting ballots was at a 72-year low.
You may be inclined to skip voting in this election. Focus on the Family urges you to reconsider and make your voice heard. Fewer voters makes your vote – and voice – count more! How much impact is “bonus” impact? Roughly 20-25 percent fewer citizens vote in a midterm election so your vote really counts in November.
As a U.S. citizen, you are both a decision-maker for our government and a steward of our nation’s values and heritage. Voting is both a right and a responsibility to execute the duties of your office. The U.S. Constitution puts the obligation squarely on our collective shoulders: “We the People” choose our leaders and, by extension, the policies that govern our land.
Exercising your civic responsibility to vote goes well beyond being “excited” about voting in a non-presidential year. Regardless of the timing of a given election, it’s your duty to reject apathy, resist discouragement and embrace your role as a citizen.
Voters in the November 2018 midterm will see critical races and issues on the ballot, as this election will decide:
- All 435 members of the U.S. House Of Representatives
- 33 seats (one-third) of the seats in the U.S. Senate, many of which are in key competitive states; two additional special elections for vacancies in Minnesota and Mississippi
- 36 state governorships
- The makeup of 87 percent of state legislative chambers nationwide
- More than 125 ballot measures in 30 states
Key State Ballot Issues
Alabama – amendment stating that the state constitution recognizes and supports the sanctity of preborn life and does not protect abortion
Massachusetts – veto referendum that repeals law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity
Oregon – initiative to ban the use of public funds for abortion
West Virginia – amendment stating that there is no right to abortion or abortion funding in the state constitution
The Senate Graveyard
In recent years, the U.S. Senate has become the place where good pro-life, pro-family legislation goes to die. Repeatedly, bills that would stem abortion, defund Planned Parenthood and protect religious liberty find no traction in the Senate due to a lack of votes. Midterm elections are an important opportunity to cast your ballot for senate candidates that represent your values. Increasing the number of pro-life and pro religious freedom senators would give these bills a fighting chance!
Future Judicial Appointments
Another critical role of the Senate is to confirm federal judges. While most Americans will not directly engage the federal court system, court rulings by these unelected judges impact the moral climate of our nation―as well as our daily lives—through issues like the redefinition of marriage, mandatory taxpayer funding of abortion, parental rights in education, privacy rights and the freedom of speech. Your vote for senators helps determine whether our elected leaders appoint judges who strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution, or who create laws from the bench. The Senate must confirm all federal court nominees – from trial to appellate courts, including the Supreme Court.
Religious freedom and free speech won big in 2018 rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission and NIFLA v Becerra, the Court came down on the side of religious freedom and conscience rights. Several more seminal cases on religious freedom could be before the Court in the coming years so vacancies on the Court are of great consequence. It’s possible that there will be at least one more vacancy on the Court in the coming two years so your vote for senate candidates could help determine who sits on the bench.