This past Tuesday November 6th, millions of people from around the country went to the poles to vote, often resulting in a day off from school (but not for Norwell… no hard feelings though). And while those lucky kids got to relax at home all day (okay, maybe a little bit of hard feelings), eligible people of all gender, race, color, religion, and background exercised their right to have a say in who—and how— they are governed. In the days following the election, there has been so much turmoil and turnover, it’s easy to feel left in the dust. If you are included in that feeling, look no further for a brief recap of the midterm elections of 2018.
At the federal level, many seats of the House of Representatives and the Senate were up for grabs. Now that the dust has mostly settled, the democrats won the majority of the 435 member House of Representatives, riding the “wave of dissatisfaction with the US President” (Sabur). Gaining 34 members in the Senate, however, the democrats lost one seat and the republicans gained one seat, giving the Republican Party a 51:47 majority.
Also during the elections, many historic ‘firsts’ took place; here are just a few:
Kyrsten Sinema became the first openly bisexual person in the Senate and Arizona’s first woman in the Senate
Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first African American woman in Congress
Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected to Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 29 (The Washington Post)
And more than 47% of eligible voters cast their ballots on election day— that’s the highest voter turnout for a midterm election since 1966 (Domonoske)!
Finally, a brief rundown of the three ballot questions that faced Massachusetts voters on the 6th.
If this law passed, there would be legal limits enforced on how many patients one nurse can be responsible for at any given time in MA. Supporters claim that the current situation with no legal limit to the number of patients one nurse can have is unsafe. Opponents claim that such strict regulation would force nurses to rely on mandated ratios rather than their professional opinion to make judgement calls about how to care for patients.
Commission to Examine Limiting Money in Politics
If passed, this commission would examine money in politics to ensure that only people could donate money to election campaigns, not unions or corporations.
Maintaining Transgender Protection in Public Places
If passed, this referendum would keep in place a 2016 state law protecting the rights of transgender people in public places, and allowing transgender people to use the locker rooms, restrooms, and other places divided by gender according to their gender identity and not their biological sex at birth.
No matter what the results of the elections and ballot questions are, the most important thing is that citizens of this country have the ability to have their own voice heard in government, a privilege not available to millions around the world. So get out there and learn! Get informed and, once your are eligible, get registered! Make the best of your voice in your own government.
To learn more about the midterm elections, check out the links down below!
By: Rose Hansen
Domonoske, Camilia. "A Boatload Of Ballots: Midterm Voter Turnout Hit 50-Year High." National Public Radio, 8 Nov. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/11/08/665197690/ a-boatload-of-ballots-midterm-voter-turnout-hit-50-year-high. Accessed 16 Nov. 2018.
Epstein, Kayla, and Eugene Scott. "The historic firsts of the 2018 Midterms." The Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/ 11/07/historic-firsts-midterms/?utm_term=.725c79944562. Accessed 16 Nov. 2018. "2018 Midterm Election Results." The New York Times, 15 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/06/us/elections/results-dashboard-live.html. Accessed 16 Nov. 2018.