The people of US will finally get to express their satisfaction with the policies of President Donald Trump as they head to polls on Tuesday.
Many people are viewing the midterm election as a referendum on Trump’s first two years in office and that could impact his ability to enact his policies during the second half of his four-year term.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs along with 33 seats of Senate. Senate elections are held after six years.
There are 28 voting wards with 113 polling stations. The voting will be taking place in public schools, churches and some other public places. The polling will continue for 13 hours and only those who maintain a queue will be allowed to vote.
There is no restriction on campaigning; one can campaign till the day of the election too.
If the Democrats want to take control of the House by having the most seats, they’re going to have to claim at least 23 from the Republicans. Thirty-six of 50 states will also hold elections for governor.
The government has taken efforts to ensure that the voting process is secure. None of the machines will be connected to the internet to prevent hacking.
“Each voting machine is a standalone machine with a memory card in it,” St. Louis City Election Board Republican Director Gary Stoff told SAMAA Digital.
“The workers, one Republican and one Democratic, travel in a police vehicle with security to bring those memory cards to central computers to feed the data. The computers are also not connected to the internet so nobody can hack and use those systems,” he explained.
In Missouri, absentee voting will reveal 50% turnout of the elections.
“If a person has a valid reason for not appearing on the day of election heshe can appear a day earlier to cast vote” said Stoff.
Trump’s final push
Trump embarked on a whirlwind final push across three states Monday to stop Democrats from breaking his Republicans’ stranglehold on the US Congress in midterm elections amounting to a battle for the soul of the turbulent country.
With turnout predicted to spike compared to previous cycles, and US networks rolling out wall-to-wall coverage, Trump told a cheering crowd in Cleveland the media were “making a fortune” thanks to him and his supporters. “The midterm elections used to be, like, boring,” he quipped. “Now it’s like the hottest thing.”
But in a hard-driving series of rallies around the country, the most polarizing US president for decades has put himself at the center of every issue.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s vote, Trump has sent thousands of soldiers to the Mexican border, suggested that illegal immigrants who throw stones should be shot, and told Americans that the Democrats would turn the country into a crime-and-drugs black hole.
That worked for Trump in his own shock 2016 election victory. But the angry tone has turned off swaths of Americans, giving Democrats confidence that they could capture at least the lower house of Congress, even if the Republicans are forecast to hold on to the Senate.
Fight for US soul
The Democrats rolled out their biggest gun in the final days of the campaign: former president Barack Obama, who on Sunday made a last-ditch appeal for an endangered Senate Democrat in Indiana.
Laying into the tangled legal scandals enveloping the Trump administration — especially the possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives — Obama scoffed: “They’ve racked up enough indictments to fill a football team.”
And describing the election as even more consequential than his own historic 2008 victory as the first non-white president, Obama said more than politics is at stake.
“The character of our country’s on the ballot,” he said.
The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in his first midterm. But a healthy economy favors the incumbent, so Trump may yet defy the historical pattern.
Although polls generally agree on Democrats winning the House and Republicans retaining the Senate, the margins are fine and a few key races will determine whether a real upset is in the cards.
One of those is Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s challenge to Senator Ted Cruz in traditionally deep-Republican Texas.
On Monday, O’Rourke depicted the contest as an epic event, saying that Texans “will define the future, not just of Texas, but of this country, not just this generation but every generation that follows.”
Other races to watch include Republican Pete Stauber’s bid to flip a House Democratic stronghold in Minnesota, while Democrats in Florida and Georgia are aiming to become the states’ first African-American governors.
In the end, though, polls mean nothing if people don’t actually vote, so even stormy weather forecast for Tuesday in much of the east of the country could end up having an impact.
Violence and rhetoric
Perhaps the biggest wild card is how voters will react to the increasingly extreme rhetoric and politically inspired violence in the last two weeks of the campaign.
In speeches, Trump has transformed a dwindling group of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans trying to walk to the United States into a ferocious threat.
This may work with Trump’s ultra-loyal base. However, misgivings rose over the president’s rhetoric after a Florida man and ardent Trump supporter was charged with sending homemade bombs to more than a dozen senior Democrats and other high profile opponents.
Just after, a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and shot 11 worshippers dead.
He had allegedly lashed out online against Jews he accused of transporting Central American “invaders” into the United States — in language that echoed Trump’s own attacks on the impoverished migrants as “an invasion.”