Our live coverage of the 2022 midterms has moved. You can find the latest updates here.
Americans are heading to the polls Tuesday in an election that has state and local officials across the country on edge, bracing for potential problems in voting stations, contentious legal battles over ballots and a fight against disinformation about the vote itself.
More than 41 million pre-election ballots were cast in 47 states, and officials are expecting high turnout on Election Day, too, for the congressional, state and gubernatorial contests that will determine control of Congress and state legislative chambers.
Most of the tens of millions who will cast ballots on Tuesday will do so without issue, in an election where early voting has been ahead of 2018 levels.
At the same time, election officials are grappling with newfound pressures in the midst of a hyper-polarized political climate that’s seen the vote itself come under a sustained barrage of attacks and disinformation for the better part of two years amid repeated false claims from former President Donald Trump that the 2020 election was stolen.
State and local officials and voting rights advocates have raised the alarm that the political attacks have sparked an exodus of local elections officials in charge of the vote amid a marked rise in threats of violence against election workers.
Early voting has provided a preview of the potential issues both big and small that could arise on Election Day, from armed ballot box watchers in Arizona accused of conspiring to intimidate voters to a legal fight over technical errors invalidating mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
In all, there have been approximately 120 legal cases surrounding voting filed as of November 3, compared to 68 before Election Day in 2020. More than half of the cases have sought to restrict access to the ballot, according to the Democracy Docket, a liberal-leaning voting rights and media platform that tracks election litigation.
The Nov. 8 midterm elections in the United States will be tremendously consequential — not just for the country itself, but also for the world.
For the country's both majority parties, it is about who controls Congress, the United States' legislative body. US President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party currently holds a very narrow majority over the Republicans in Congress, which gives them the ability to band together and pass more progressive legislations.
However, there are many seats up for reelection in 2022 that could easily shift the balance of power. In turn, that could define the values of the nation on issues of global interest and importance, like climate, women’s health care, education, immigration and gun violence, and how the country leads the global community on them.
The Senate, one of the legislative bodies of Congress, is a 50-50 split (with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote giving them the advantage) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s control of the House, the other legislative body, rests on a slim margin. In 2022, all 435 House seats and 35 of the 100 Senate seats are on the ballot. Additionally, 36 out of 50 states will elect governors.
The Republican Party, also known as the GOP, has been known to downplay the climate crisis, reject gun control legislation, be more conservative on immigration and push for national abortion bans. For instance, former President Donald Trump of the Republican Party infamously withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017. There are GOP-led abortion ban bills across various states in the US. Republicans also collectively defend Americans’ right to bear arms and Trump and other GOP leaders have rejected efforts to overhaul gun laws after mass shootings have occurred in the country.
The elections could determine if Democrats keep control of Congress, allowing them to put the wind in the sails for the Biden administration’s agenda, including on international issues. If Republicans seize control of both or one of the chambers, the future of Biden's legislative agenda could be in jeopardy.
The midterm election will also provide a look further into the future as it will be the first national election since Biden defeated Trump in 2020. It will serve as a litmus test for Trump’s stronghold and relevance in the country, and perhaps, the bellwether election for how the country could vote in the next presidential election. It will also be the first major national election since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection happened at the US Capitol in Washington DC, which houses the US legislative chambers.
The stakes of America’s 2022 midterm elections are high, making it a cycle to watch.
Dive deeper: Read more about how the US compares to other countries on abortion rights and how US gun culture stacks up against the rest of the world.
As polls close across the United States during the Nov. 8 midterm elections, CNN will begin to make projections on races.
Here's what you need to know about how it works:
What is a CNN “key race”? Who decides that?
“Key race” is a subjective term. Most politics watchers generally agree that only a subset of races is truly competitive in November, and these are generally considered the key races. Political parties spend more money on these races. Reporters spend more time covering them.
Of the 35 Senate races on the ballot in 2022, the election forecasters at Inside Elections consider three to be true toss-ups and another four to tilt toward either Republicans or Democrats.
Nineteen House races are true toss-ups, although many more could wind up being closely contested. Five governor races are toss-ups.
Key races can also be races that might be less competitive but have broader implications or feature especially notable candidates.
How does CNN make projections?
Using a mix of many factors, including current and previous election results, real-time exit polling, recent opinion polls, voter registration data and more, CNN’s decision desk is frequently able to reliably project that a candidate has received enough support to win. It is a projection, however, and not the final word. State officials and courts have the official say.
Can CNN project a race without any votes in?
This is a task CNN takes very seriously. Based on previous election results, exit polling, recent opinion polls, early voter turnout and other factors, it is sometimes possible to see that one particular candidate will win a race. If there is any chance of an upset, CNN will refrain from projecting a race.
Here’s a quick lay of the land as you join us to follow the US midterm elections.
When is Election Day?
US elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every other year. Election Day 2022 is on November 8.
American citizens over the age of 18 can vote. Some states make exceptions for people convicted of felony and some states require voters to register.
Americans can also vote early — in person or by mail.
Eight US states and the District of Columbia mail every voter a ballot. Some others allow early voting for everyone, and others require an excuse, although almost anyone can do some form of early voting (in person or by mail.)
Who is being elected?
The US Congress has two legislative bodies — the Senate and the House.
Lawmakers elected to the Senate are called senators and they serve six-year terms. There are federal elections every two years. The seats are broken up into three classes, and about a third of the Senate is on the ballot every two years. The 2022 election features Class III senators. See the race ratings by Inside Elections.
However, those elected to the House of Representatives are up for election every two years. Putting House members up for election every two years allows voters more direct and immediate control of the direction of their government since it’s the piece of federal government closest to the people.
Some state governors are also up for election in 2022. Each state treats its governors slightly differently. Forty-eight of the 50 US states elect governors to four-year terms. Two states, New Hampshire and Vermont, elect governors to two-year terms. Most states, 36 of them, hold their governor elections in midterm election years between presidential elections. Three states, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana, elect governors in off-year elections the year before a presidential election. Two states, New Jersey and Virginia, elect governors in off-year elections the year after a presidential election.
What is the balance of power?
Political parties have more power when they control the House or Senate by winning a majority of the seats in that chamber. The party in power controls committees that write legislation and decides which measures will get a vote on the floor. In the House, the party with at least 218 seats has the majority and, assuming it can unite behind one candidate, selects the Speaker of the House. In the Senate, the party with 51 votes has the majority.
Will we know who wins on Election Day?
Don’t count on final answers in every race on election night. With so many people voting early and by mail and so many close elections, there’s a good chance that it will take days or weeks to figure out who won some races. The margins of power in both the House and Senate are close enough that it could take days to know who will have a majority of seats.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters on Monday rallied supporters the night before Election Day, encouraging Arizonans to cast their ballot to enact an “America First” agenda in Arizona.
Lake’s voice wavered a bit as she appeared to grow emotional, saying “This is so beautiful … I just prayed to God before I walked out, I said give me the words I need.”
“We are so ready for a change, aren’t we, in this country,” Lake said. “We’re so ready for fair elections, aren’t we? And yet I know, like many of you, and especially me, I’m worried about tomorrow.”
Lake -- who has repeatedly called the 2020 election “stolen”-- again made a reference to "stolen elections" Monday night.
“There’s not a darn thing Katie Hobbs can screw up tomorrow to make our win any less significant because we’re going to win tomorrow, we’re going to vote tomorrow, and we are going to take Arizona back,” she said to a cheering crowd.
“We are America First and Arizona First and tomorrow we’re going to vote to put Arizona first, right?” Lake said.
Lake is running against Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs, who currently serves as Arizona’s secretary of state.
Masters, an Arizona Republican Senate nominee, called Tuesday election “a save the country election.”
“If we don’t get the right Republicans elected into office tomorrow, man we’re just one day away from losing our country. But I think we’re one day away from winning this country back.”
Masters also expressed his support for Lake, saying she is “going to give DeSantis a run for his money.”
The 2022 midterm elections will decide control of Congress, dozens of statewide positions and ballot measures on key issues in many states. This is a guide by poll-closing time for the notable races – both competitive and not – that are on the ballot. See race ratings for Senate, House and governor by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Click on a state’s name to see results and projections for that state once votes start being counted.
6:00 p.m. ET
7:00 p.m. ET
- Georgia (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Indiana (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): Senate, House, secretary of state
- Kentucky (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): Senate, House, ballot measure
- South Carolina (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state
- Vermont (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, ballot measure
- Virginia (Last polls close: 7 p.m. ET): House
- Florida (Polls in the 3rd through 27th House districts close at 7 p.m. ET)
7:30 p.m. ET
8:00 p.m. ET
- Alabama (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Connecticut (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, ballot measure
- Delaware (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House, attorney general
- Florida (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general
- Illinois (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general
- Kansas (Polls in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th House districts close at 8 p.m. ET)
- Maine (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House, governor
- Maryland (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general, ballot measure
- Massachusetts (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Michigan (Polls in the 2nd through 13th House districts close at 8 p.m. ET)
- Mississippi (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House
- Missouri (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, ballot measure
- New Hampshire (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor
- New Jersey (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House
- Oklahoma (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general
- Pennsylvania (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor
- Rhode Island (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Tennessee (Last polls close: 8 p.m. ET): House, governor
- Texas (Polls in the 1st through 15th, 17th through 22nd and 24th through 38th House districts close at 8 p.m. ET)
8:30 p.m. ET
- Arkansas (Last polls close: 8:30 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, ballot measure
9:00 p.m. ET
- Arizona (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, ballot measure
- Colorado (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Iowa (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general, secretary of state, ballot measure
- Kansas (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Louisiana (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House
- Michigan (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, ballot measures
- Minnesota (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Nebraska (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor, attorney general, ballot measures
- New Mexico (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- New York (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, attorney general
- North Dakota (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, secretary of state, ballot measure
- South Dakota (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, ballot measure
- Texas (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor, attorney general
- Wisconsin (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Wyoming (Last polls close: 9 p.m. ET): House, governor
10:00 p.m. ET
11:00 p.m. ET
- California (Last polls close: 11 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, Los Angeles mayor, ballot measures
- Idaho (Last polls close: 11 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, secretary of state, attorney general
- Oregon (Last polls close: 11 p.m. ET): Senate, House, governor, ballot measures
- Washington (Last polls close: 11 p.m. ET): Senate, House, secretary of state
12:00 a.m. ET
- Hawaii (Last polls close: 12 a.m. ET): Senate, House, governor
1:00 a.m. ET
- Alaska (Last polls close: 1 a.m. ET): Senate, House, governor
A dispirited nation worn down by crises and economic anxieties votes Tuesday in an election that is more likely to cement its divides than promote unity.
Elections are often cleansing moments setting the country on a fresh path powered by people freely choosing their leaders – and those leaders accepting the results.
But the final hours of this midterm campaign laid bare the polarized electoral environment, the specter of political violence and the possibility of disputed races – all of which have raised the stakes of the first nationwide vote since former President Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election and have augured an acrimonious two years to come.
Republicans predict they will win the House of Representatives on Tuesday – a victory that, if it materializes, would give them the power to throttle President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and clamp an investigative vise on his White House. The Senate is, meanwhile, on a knife edge with a handful of races in states like Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania likely to decide who wins the majority.
Above all, the midterm campaign turned on the cost of living crisis, with polls showing the economy by far the most important issue for voters, who are still waiting for the restoration of normality after a once-in-a-century pandemic Biden had promised in 2020.
A gusher of news on job losses just before polls opened, including in the tech industry, worsened jitters about a slowdown that could destroy one of the bright spots of the Biden economy – historically low unemployment. Americans are already struggling with higher prices for food and gasoline and now must cope with the Federal Reserve hikes in interest rates that not only make credit card debt, buying a home and rent more expensive, but could tip the economy into a recession.
Mehmet Oz made his final pitch to voters at a rally the night before Election Day, saying, "this is bigger than Pennsylvania."
The hotly-contested Pennsylvania Senate race between Republican Oz and Democrat John Fetterman has had outsized importance in the fight for Senate control.
In his final message before voters hit the polls Tuesday, Oz hit hard on a few major issues that have been consistent and effective throughout his campaign: The economy, crime, fentanyl overdoses and the border.
And he once again asked his supporters to reach out to conservative Democrats and Independents to draw them in, telling the crowd in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to ask 10 people a simple question: "Are they happy with the way the country is headed?"
And, if not, "Tell them I am the candidate for change," Oz said.
Former Governor of South Carolina and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, introduced Oz to the stage in Pennsburg Monday night.
"Dr. Oz knows what I know. When you're the child of immigrants, you know the sacrifice, you know the love of country, you know the fact that your parents raised you to give back because of how blessed you are," Haley said. "He came from nothing, and he made himself something because only in American can that have happened."
Oz closed with a message of "bringing balance to Washington" over extremism.
"I'm not a politician. You all know that. I'm a heart surgeon, and we tackle big problems, life-threatening problems like a broken heart. And we unite to do that. We don't divide," Oz said.
"Make sure we send the right person to Washington to represent your values and address the problems that are plaguing all of us here in Pennsylvania and the nation, because this is bigger than just Pennsylvania. It's in fact bigger than the country, in many ways," Oz added.