The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

#Voted November 6th- Tables Turn and Things Change With Midterm Elections

in Beyond Our Walls by

Lines wrapped around the block at each poll location, causing voters to have to wait up to 20 minutes for the chance to cast their vote. Young 18-year-olds, still in high school or first year of college wait in their very first election line- the tension of waiting to vote for the first time creeping up. However, the long lines all around the poll stations represent the voters in Texas. The midterm elections occurred on November 6th and in Texas, a state known for its astoundingly low poll numbers, the voter turnout improved in great numbers. According to the Dallas Observer, In early voting alone about three million Texans came out to the polls. According to the Texas Tribune, 32.4% of 12.3 million voters voted in early voting. The numbers surpassed the 2014 midterms in just 5 days. In 2014 only 20% of registered voters came out to the polls in total. Looking at counties, some of the numbers even surpass or aline with the 2012 presidential election.

 

The seniors in high school that turned 18 early enough are able to vote for the first time. Ann Richards seniors, specifically, got the chance to vote in their very first election and left school early on Friday, November 2nd, which is the last day of early voting.

 

The midterms gave way for change and left some things the same. According to The Associated Press, 51 seats in the Senate went to the Republican party and 48 went to the Democratic party, which means not much changed in the Senate, as the Republicans still have the majority. As for the House, Democrats took it back from the Republicans, reaching 220 seats for Democrats and 194 seats for Republicans, having a 6 seat divide, while the Senate only had a 3 seat divide. This creates a split Congress, this means that while previously both the House and the Senate went in the majority of the political party of the president, now there is a Democratic advantage- meaning there could be more backlash for the current president and his decisions.

 

Another big change occurred, more women and minorities are in the House of Representatives than ever before. According to The Guardian, at least 99 women are now in the House and 11 are in the Senate, most serving in the Democratic party. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) is now serving on the House of Representatives at only 29 years old- making her the youngest woman to serve in Congress. Abby Finkenauer (D) was also elected at 29 years old but she will turn 30 before Congress enters session in January. Rashida Tlaib (D) and Ilhan Omar (D) was elected as the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. Two Native American women, Sharice Davids (D), and Deb Haaland (D) will also join Congress. Sharice Davids will also be Kansas’s first LGBTQ member of Congress. According to USA Today, Michelle Grisham (D) will become the first Democratic Latina governor, serving in New Mexico. Ayanna Pressley (D) will serve as the first black women from Massachusetts to be elected to Congress.

 

States also passed monumental changes in their own governments. According to Vox, Massachusetts passed the United States’s first statewide vote on anti-discrimination protections for the transgender community, making it illegal to gender discrimination in public places. In Washington state, legislators passed a tighter gun control law, which included raising the legal age for purchasing a firearm to 21. Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah passed a Medicaid expansion- meaning 300,000 more people will now get the service. Florida recently passed a law that would allow up to 1.4 million ex-felons to regain their voting rights. Arkansas and Missouri passed a law, increasing the minimum wage, giving raises to a total of 900,000 workers. Several states voted on marijuana and Michigan fully legalized marijuana in all of its uses, while Utah and Missouri only voted to legalize medical marijuana.

 

These changes will affect the current state of the country in many ways. President Trump- a Republican- lost half of Congress to the Democratic party, making it harder for him to pursue his agenda. This loss will mean Trump might need to play ball with the Congress to get anything passed. Congress is the ‘check system’ for all presidents to make sure they are being fair and doing the best things for this country. With a split Congress there is a more balanced system.

 

The current seniors have cast their vote along with the rest of the country and now we have our future decided- at least for a few years. The senators, representatives, governors, and mayors have been chosen for the next 4 years. With the current state of the Congress, it looks like anything could happen.

Sophomore Camille Pfister is a co-creative writing editor for her second year writing on the Polaris Press. Writing has always been one of her passions. At the age of eight, Camille decided to start writing short stories and her experiences in a journal and hasn’t stopped since. Her favorite activities, other than writing, are spending time with her close group of friends, working on being an ally and advocate, and learning more about the world through her peers and their experiences, as well as be there to support them. As a part of the newspaper staff, she hopes to reach a bigger audience with her writing and learn more newspaper skills. Camille also hopes to expand her writing style and broaden her view of the world by staying updated on current events and reporting about important topics. Her biggest goal for the year is to grow as a writer and help the Polaris Press improve as a newspaper and community.

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