Polls have opened in the 2018 midterm elections. Voters have already started casting ballots in several eastern states, while voting will begin throughout the country shortly. Voting has reportedly been brisk in Virginia and New York, though it is too early to know whether this will become a pattern.
This year’s elections have been billed as the most important in decades, particularly by Democrats who are working hard to take back Congress. Democrats are widely expected to take back the House, despite attempts at gerrymandering and voter suppression. However, Republicans are likely to retain control of the Senate.
One thing is clear from pollsters: there is no absolute certainty in how the elections will turn out. Democrats need to win by wide margins in order to retake the House, which they lost in 2010. Winning the Senate is much more difficult. Most of the senators up for election are in reliably blue states.
Outside of Congress, other major races will be decided today. In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum is expected to defeat Republican Ron DeSantis. Gillum has been the subject of false claims about corruption and his stance on borders. President Donald Trump has personally attacked Gillum.
In Georgia, the governor’s race is expected to be much closer. Democrat Stacey Abrams is running neck-and-neck with Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp has tried to undermine Abrams with attempts at voter suppression and a last minute accusation that Democrats tried to hack the state’s electoral system. Kemp is still likely to win, however.
The first polling stations will close at 6pm Eastern in parts of Indiana and Kentucky, with poll closures taking place progressively thereafter. By 10pm, there should be a clear picture of what the Senate will look like but it may take longer for House results to filter through.
This election will be closer than was previously expected. The ‘blue wave’ is likely to still hit House races, but Democrats will heavily depend on high voter turnout. Early polling has reached record highs this year, which is probably bad news for Republicans. Every vote will count in close races and a small number of votes could determine control of Congress.