On Tuesday, November 6, the 2018 general election will determine who controls the House and Senate for the next two years. This, of course, depends on who turns out to vote. These elections are very important, since members of the Congressional majority fill top leadership positions in Congress, including the leadership of committees involved in Trump-related investigations. According to the New York Times, the Democrats must win twenty-eight senate seats to gain control, whereas the Republicans only need nine. Since this is a general election, a single candidate for each party remains on the ballot, along with unaffiliated candidates. You may also write in the name of someone who is not listed, but unless the candidate is registered as a write-in candidate, your vote cannot be counted.
The midterm elections include elections for local, state, and national offices. At the local level, you vote for offices in your county or state, such as mayor, governor, and auditor. On a state level, you vote for state district representatives and senators. Nationally, you vote for your representative in Congress, and the two senators who come from your state. Note that Senators have six-year terms, so only about a third of them are up for re-election this year.
Reed students with U.S. citizenship may register to vote in either Oregon or another state in which they have legal residence. Although the deadline for voter registration has passed for most states, if you are already registered in your home state, you can still request an absentee ballot by visiting vote.org. This website also provides information on early voting and nearby polling locations.
You can look up state and county voter guides for 2018 online, although these differ widely across the nation. They have information about local, state, and federal candidates, as well as local and state measures and propositions. In Oregon, five statewide measures, summarized here for you, will be on this general election ballot.
Measure 102 is about housing. If passed, it would amend the state constitution to allow counties, cities, and towns to use bond revenue to fund privatized construction of affordable housing. Currently, municipalities must retain full ownership of affordable housing if they use bond revenue to fund it
Measure 103, if passed, would prevent municipalities from enacting grocery taxes. Currently, there is no state sales tax, but cities and towns are allowed to enact their own taxes on items, including groceries.
Measure 104, if passed, would define raising revenue in the state constitution to cover changes to tax exemptions, credits, and deductions. This would result in the 2017 Oregon law requiring a three-fifths supermajority in each state legislative chamber to pass bills for raising revenue to cover changes to tax exemptions, credits, and deductions as well.
Measure 105, if passed, would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law that prevents the use of state resources or employees (including law enforcement) to find or apprehend undocumented immigrants.
Measure 106, if passed, would prevent state funds from being spent on abortions.
If you are voting as a resident of Oregon, and Multnomah County in particular, voters’ guides that might be helpful include the Multnomah County Voters’ Pamphlet, the Oregon’s Secretary of State Online Voters’ Guide, the Voters’ Pamphlet for the Oregon General Election, and the League of Women Voters Voters’ Guide, Multnomah County Edition, all of which can be found on the Multnomah County website. Reed College is located in Oregon District 1 and in Multnomah County. The county office up for re-election in Multnomah County is the County Auditor, and Portland offices up for re-election include the Mayor and various City Council positions. There are a couple of minor amendments to existing legislation, as well as the amendment to limit candidate campaign contributions and expenditures, and require funding disclosures. The state- and federal-level offices up for re-election include the U.S. House Representative, a State Representative, a State Senator, and the Governor.
If you are voting in California, you might want to look at the California Secretary of State’s California General Election Guide and the California Easy Voter Guide, among others.