The 2022 midterm elections are fast approaching, and with them comes…a lot of confusion! Midterm elections include a plethora of candidates and complex issues on the ballot. They are also not as high-profile as presidential elections, and many people simply choose not to vote because they don’t understand the significance of what’s at stake. As a result, kids often grow up without ever learning about this critical part of our political system.
As a parent, it’s essential that you take the time to educate yourself on the upcoming election so that you can help your child understand the importance of this event. By doing so, you’ll give your child an edge against their peers and provide them with an informed perspective as they grow up and learn how politics work. The results of the midterm elections will have a direct impact on your child’s future.
And while the midterms can seem very confusing and overwhelming, we are here to help simplify things for you. Consider this your cheat sheet for the 2022 midterm elections, including tips on how to get your kids involved. Your vote has the power to shape the future of our children—and that’s worth heading to the polls for.
Understanding The Basics
It’s probably been a while since you paid attention (or fell asleep) in high school civics class. Let’s take a trip down memory lane because you can’t begin to understand the complexity of the midterm elections without first understanding some of the basics of how our government functions.
The United States Congress is responsible for making national laws, and the president is responsible for carrying out those laws. Congress is comprised of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both chambers play an essential role in the laws that govern the country, but they have different methods of operation.
U.S. Congress = House + Senate
The House of Representatives is made up of a total of 435 members (congressmen & congresswomen), each representing a congressional district. Representatives serve two-year terms. These representatives are spread out among the 50 states, and the number from each state is proportional to its population—with every state guaranteed at least one representative. Every 10 years, a census is conducted in order to accurately count the population of each state.
The data from this census is then used to determine how many congressional districts each state will have. States with a larger population will have more representatives, while states with a smaller population will have fewer representatives. After each census, there may be some changes in the number of congressional districts for each state. For example, New York and California have recently lost a few congressional seats due to population decline, while Florida has gained two seats due to population growth.
A directory of the U.S. House of Representatives by state and district can be found here: https://www.house.gov/representatives
The Senate is made up of 100 Senators, 2 from each state, regardless of population. Senators serve six-year terms. Senate elections are staggered so that only about one-third of the seats are up for election every two years. Because they serve longer terms, senators have more time to develop expertise on specific issues. They are also less obligated to special interests than representatives, who must face reelection every two years and therefore are continually campaigning.
Bills must pass through both the Senate and the House in order to become a law. The House decides which laws are voted on, while the Senate can either block (filibuster) or approve them. The bills approved by the Senate are signed into law by the president. However, the Senate has more power than the House when it comes to passing legislation since it takes a two-thirds majority to pass a bill in the Senate, while only a simple majority is required in the House.
While both the House and Senate are responsible for legislating, the Senate also has a number of important responsibilities related to confirmations and ratifications. For example, the Senate must confirm all federal judges, cabinet officials, and ambassadors before they can take office. In addition, any treaties that are signed by the president must be ratified by the Senate before they can go into effect. As a result, the Senate plays an essential role in ensuring that only qualified individuals are appointed to positions of power and that any international agreements are in the best interests of the American people.
A directory of the U.S. Senators by state can be found here:
What Are the Midterm Elections?
As the name suggests, midterms are elections that are held in the middle of a president’s four-year term. This year’s midterms will be held on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022. This is an especially important election because, although the president is not up for re-election, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate are. This means that control of both the House and Senate is up for grabs.
Midterms are often seen as a referendum on the president’s performance and can provide vital information about which party has the most support from voters. If you’re happy with how things are going, voting in the midterms is a way to show your support. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with the direction of the country, then voting in the midterms is a way to send a message that you want to change.
Why Are Midterms So Important?
The results of the midterm elections will have a substantial impact on the direction of our country for years to come. The president of the United States, of course, has a lot of power. But there is one thing that a president cannot do without the help of Congress: pass laws. Remember, in order for a bill to become law, it must first be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And that’s where things can get tricky for a president.
A president’s ability to accomplish their agenda largely depends on which political party controls the two houses of Congress. If the president’s party controls both the House of Representatives and the Senate, then it is much easier to push through their legislative agenda. However, if the president’s party does not control either chamber of Congress, then it becomes much harder to get anything done. This is because the opposing party will often block bills from being voted on, or they will filibuster in an attempt to prevent a vote from taking place. So, while a president may have a lot of power, their ability to actually get things done depends on whether or not their party has control of Congress.
The decisions made in the midterm elections will have a direct impact on your future. The issues at stake in the 2022 midterm elections are numerous and wide-ranging, but some of the key issues include the economy, inflation, reproductive rights, student debt, and immigration. It is important that everyone takes the time to educate themselves on these issues; The future of our country depends on it. The midterms are a time when we as a country can come together and make our voices heard.
What is the Current Party Breakdown in Congress?
Leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, the House of Representatives includes 220 Democrats, 212 Republicans, and 3 vacant seats—so the Democrats currently have a slim majority in the House. Meanwhile, the Senate is evenly split between the two political parties at 50-50. Vice President Kamala Harris has the power to cast a tie-breaking vote if needed. The 2022 midterms will be a crucial test for both parties as they look to maintain or expand their majorities in Congress, and the results of the upcoming elections could potentially shift the party balance in one or both chambers of Congress.
Are Governors Included in the Midterm Election?
The office of the governor is an important one. The governor is responsible for overseeing the state’s budget, its laws, and its regulations. In many ways, the governor is the face of the state, and their decisions can have a profound impact on its citizens. All U.S. governors are elected to four-year terms, with the exception of those in New Hampshire and Vermont, who serve two-year terms. Term limits on governors vary from state to state. To learn more about specific term limits by state, visit: https://www.termlimits.com/which-states-have-term-limits-on-governor/
State Gubernatorial elections are held at different times across the country. In other words, not all governors are up for reelection in the midterms. Anything “gubernatorial” relates to governors in the same way that anything “presidential” relates to presidents.
- Two states hold their gubernatorial elections every even-numbered year.
Example: (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022)
- Thirty-four states hold their gubernatorial elections during midterm elections.
Example: (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022)
- Nine states hold their gubernatorial elections during presidential elections.
Example: (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024)
- Three states hold their gubernatorial elections the year before a presidential election.
Example: (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023)
- Two states hold their gubernatorial elections the year after a presidential election.
Example: (2005, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2021, 2025)
There is no unanimous time when all governors’ terms expire. Instead, there is a continuous cycle of gubernatorial elections taking place across the country. This year, 36 states are voting on governors during the 2022 midterm elections on November 8th.
Why Do the Midterms Have Low Voter Turnout?
Unlike presidential elections, which receive a staggering amount of attention both domestically and internationally, midterm elections often fly under the radar. They lack the same fanfare, media attention, and public interest. As a result, voter turnout is typically much lower in midterm elections. According to the U.S. Elections Project, in recent decades, on average, about 60% of the eligible voting population votes during presidential elections, while only about 40% vote during midterm elections.
Often, people simply don’t feel as invested in midterm elections since there is no high-profile presidential candidate on the ballot. However, while midterm elections may not be as “flashy” as presidential elections, they can have just as significant—if not more—of an impact on the country’s direction. The balance of power in Congress could potentially change with every midterm election, which provides a crucial check on the executive branch’s power.
How Can I Get My Kids Involved?
As the 2022 midterm elections approach, it’s vital to get your kids involved in the political process. Even if they can’t vote yet, there are still ways they can participate and
make their voices heard. Voting is one of the most important ways to have a say in how our country is run, and it’s an excellent opportunity to teach kids about the value of civic engagement. Here are some tips on how to get your kids involved in the upcoming elections:
1) Take them with you to the polls on election day so they can see democracy in action! Most public schools will be closed since they are used as voting sites. Many kids are fascinated by the voting process, which will be a great way to show them how it works.
In every state, the government allows minors to accompany their voting parents into the polling booth, but states have their own laws setting maximum ages for kids who can come into the booth. For example, states such as Virginia and Connecticut allow children 15 years and younger into the voting booths, while California and other states allow any minors under 18 into the booth.
Along with age restrictions, some states also have total child maximums. Depending on your state, the law may limit the number of kids you bring into the booth to one or two. Since each state has different rules, be sure to check with your local election supervisor ahead of time about limitations on bringing your kids with you.
Use this resource to contact your state or local election officials:
2) Help them research the candidates running in your area so they can make informed decisions when it comes time to vote. This is a great opportunity to teach them about the different political parties and what they stand for.
3) Talk to them about the issues that are important to you and why you’re voting for certain candidates. This will help them understand the importance of voting and how their choices can impact the world around them. By teaching kids about voting now, you can help instill a lifelong civic engagement habit. After all, they will be casting their ballots before you know it!
4) Encourage them to talk to their friends and family about the election so they can get everyone excited about participating in democracy. The more people that turn out to vote, the better!
5) Celebrate their “participation” in the election by making a special dinner or doing something fun together. This will create a special memory for them and make them excited to participate in future elections.
By getting your kids involved in the midterm elections, you’ll be helping ensure that they grow up to be informed and engaged citizens. You can help instill a love of democracy that will last a lifetime. Whatever you do, make sure your kids know that their voices matter and that they have the power to make changes in our world!
Get Out and Vote!
In the midst of all the political division and debate, there’s one thing that we should all be able to agree on: Our children are our most valuable stakeholders. They are the future of our country. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you are informed and ready to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. The results of these elections will have a monumental impact on the future of our country and the world that your children will inherit.
While the presidential election gets a lot of attention, the reality is that the decisions made by Congress and state legislatures have a far greater impact on our everyday lives. From taxes and healthcare to education and our economy, the decisions made by our elected officials will shape the landscape of our country for years to come. So make sure you are registered to vote, and on November 8th, 2022, head to the polls to cast your ballot! Your future and our children’s futures depend on it.
Use this resource to help prepare you for everything you will see on the ballot: