Millions of Americans voted Tuesday in the United States midterm elections that will determine whether Democrats keep control of Congress or lose it to Republicans. The vote will also shape the rest of Democratic President Joe Biden’s term.
The vote comes as Americans are grappling with sky-high inflation and living costs, with 43 percent of people saying their family’s financial situation is worse than two years ago.
An ABC News-Washington Post survey, released on Sunday, finds that share has doubled since Biden took office on January 20, 2021, replacing Donald Trump.
"It's Election Day, America," the 79-year-old Biden tweeted. "Make your voice heard today. Vote."
It’s Election Day, America.— President Biden (@POTUS) November 8, 2022
Make your voice heard today. Vote.
Casting his ballot in Florida, Trump again indicated a potential announcement next week of a 2024 presidential run, telling reporters that November 15 "will be a very exciting day for a lot of people."
The economy has emerged as the top concern among supporters of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
A report published last month on inflation showed prices in the US are rising more than expected.
The report marks potential bad news for Biden and Democrats who are desperate to retain control of Congress and must try to convince voters deeply concerned about high prices that they can help drive inflation down.
Democrats are holding a slim majority in Congress. Nonpartisan forecasts suggest Democrats will lose control of Congress and with it the ability to push forward on Biden's agenda in the next two years.
Thirty-five Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives seats are on the ballot.
Republicans are likely to pick up the five seats they need to control the House, while the Senate could come down to a quartet of toss-up races in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. Currently the Senate is split 50-50 with Democrats holding the tie-breaking vote.
More than 42 million Americans voted ahead of Election Day, either by mail or in-person, according to data from the US Election Project. State election officials caution that full results may not be known for days as they count ballots in close races, according to Reuters.
In the swing state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia officials reinstated a process on Tuesday that can catch possible double votes from being counted but takes more time.
There are 36 governorships and scores of other state-level races on the ballot, including hotly contested gubernatorial campaigns in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, Reuters reported.
On election eve, Biden made a final appeal to Democrats to turn out en masse.
"The power's in your hands," Biden told a rally near Washington. "We know in our bones that our democracy is at risk and we know that this is your moment to defend it."
Biden said he believed Democrats would hold on to the Senate but it would be "tough" to retain the House and his life may become "more difficult."
A Republican-controlled House would be able to block bills addressing Democratic priorities. Republicans could also initiate a showdown over the nation's debt ceiling, and could launch potentially politically damaging investigations into Biden's administration and family.
Meanwhile, a Republican Senate would hold sway over Biden's judicial nominations, including any Supreme Court vacancy.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell has already hinted he might refuse to fill an open seat on the top court until after the 2024 presidential election if he returns to the majority leader's position.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel believed Republicans will take control of the House and Senate after today’s midterm elections.
Meanwhile, Biden has warned the Republican Party could set the nation on "the path to chaos". He called on Americans to unite in opposition to "political violence" in the elections.
Shortly before their midterm legislative elections, a stunning new poll shows that 9 out of 10 Americans are afraid of politically-motivated violence.
The blame is apportioned in almost equal thirds. Democrats blame Republicans, Republican respondents hold Democrats responsible and another third says both parties are equally responsible.