Decision time as Americans vote in midterm polls

Polling time in US

As Americans vote in the November 8 mid-term elections, issues such as the economy and inflation, abortion rights, border protection and to a lesser extent democracy are at play.

These elections happen during the middle of a Presidential term and this time around, all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for reelection as are 34 seats in the US Senate.

Although midterms generate lower voter turnout than presidential elections, they are not any less important as the results of this polls could redefine America’s future.

In fact, they are essential to the democratic process as they provide a chance for citizens to choose to keep or replace leaders in office, at the local, state and federal levels.

A staff writer at the Atlantic whose coverage of the 2020 Presidential election won the 2021 Toner Prize for Excellence in National Political reporting, David Graham acknowledged that what is at stake is President Joe Biden’s popularity and approval ratings considering issues such as inflation and abortion.

There have been attempts to change voting laws and reports of violence with some voters prevented from voting.

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Graham: Results will depending on how the Biden administration has managed the economy

Graham predicted a Republican victory in Washington at state level.

In his assessment, the incumbent government as is historically the case, will lose and what’s key is just to what extent depending on how the Biden administration has managed the economy, how upset voters are with the Conservative Supreme Court’s overturning abortion rights and their feeling on the power balance in America.

Urban areas tend vote for Democrats and rural states Republicans which he attributed to the low education in rural areas arguing that education tends to make people take a more liberal approach.

“So what will happen is going to depend a lot on what goes on in the US House races and so those hard swing for Republicans  will plug in Democrats at the State level are gonna have a hard time and not getting washed up I’d say”

There is also split as a lot of Republicans are going anti-Russia hence not easy to predict where the party would go.

According to him, Republicans have a better way of communicating; it becomes more important than the policy and are so good at identifying the problems however without offering solutions.

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State legislative building in Raleigh North Carolina

Maricopa County Election department in Arizona upgraded its tabulation equipment in 2019 with features designed to improve efficiency and security over the tabulation process.

The equipment is federally and state certified by the US Election Assistance Commission, Arizona Secretary of State and the nationally accredited voting system Test Laboratory.

To ensure accuracy prior to an election, tabulators are 100 percent tested together with accessible voting devices and after the polls, political parties perform a head count audit of the results.

Staff from the Elections Department performs a post- accuracy test on equipment as a final check.

Ballots used on Election Day are counted by precinct based tabulators onsite to keep record of votes cast at each location with results printed on receipt paper and stored on two separate, encrypted memory cards.

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Early voters in the midterm election

These cards are programmed together at the Ballot Tabulation Center and the Tabulator will only work if both memory cards inside are programmed together.

In Arizona, voters also cast their ballots by mail with only registered voters requesting a ballot in the mail and all ballot affidavit envelopes requiring a signature that is then checked against a known signature on the official voter registration file.

The Elections department and the office of the Recorder have internal controls and tracking methods for ballot security with ballot processing teams conducting multiple audit checks before and after ballots are tabulated

The law requires the office of the Recorder mail out notices to all voters on the Active Early Voting List 90 days prior to an election.

This mailing confirms that the voter still lives at the address on file and allows him or her chance to update their record if they have moved and after reconciling voter records the ballots are mailed 27 days before an election.

To ensure ballots safety and security, there are many layers of oversight which are conducted.