US voters go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, to take part in midterm elections that will help define the remaining two years of President Donald Trump‘s first term in office.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs in the midterms, as well as 35 seats in the Senate, and 39 governorships.
Trump’s Republican party currently has a majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, but failure to hold on to either could result in political deadlock for the US leader’s most ambitious policies.
NBC, Fox News and Facebook pulled a widely-condemned anti-immigrant ad by President Donald Trump’s campaign as a bitter election fight for control of the US Congress headed on Monday for an unpredictable finish.
The 30-second ad, which was sponsored by Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and which debuted online last week, featured courtroom video of a Mexican citizen convicted in the 2014 killings of two police officers, juxtaposed with scenes of a US-bound caravan of Central American migrants and refugees.
Critics, including members of Trump’s own party, had condemned the spot for its open racism.
The ad fit into the president’s near-daily attacks on immigrants and the caravan, which he has described as an “invasion”.
“I now feel one with America.”
“I’ll finally feel like part of this country.”
“Trump doesn’t represent our country”
“To have a voice as an Arab-American, that’s very special”
This is what four first-time immigrant voters told Al Jazeera in the leadup to Tuesday’s poll. Read more.
First polls will open in Vermont at 5am local time (10GMT). Many other states on the East Coast will follow between 6am local time (11GMT) and 7am local time (12GMT).
Most polling places will stay open for at least 12 hours. Many precincts will close between 6pm local time and 8pm local time, in their respective time zones.
With midterms less than a day away, right-wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s seven-year grip on the state could be slipping away.
Walker and his opponent, Democrat Tony Evers, were neck-and-neck in the closely-watched gubernatorial race as they made their final pitches to voters on campaign stops, television and online.
On Friday, Emerson College published a survey putting Evers at 51-percent support and incumbent Walker at 46 percent. Previous polls had the two opponents back and forth in the lead.
Read about other governor races you should check out here.
Donald Trump embarked Monday on a whirlwind final push across three states to stop Democrats from breaking his Republicans’ stranglehold on the US Congress.
Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; then Cape Girardeau, Missouri: it will be well after midnight before the real estate billionaire and populist showman gets back to the White House – and only a few hours more before polls open Tuesday across the world’s largest economy.
“Everything we have created and achieved is at stake on election day,” Trump told a cheering crowd in Cleveland, as he kicked off his furious last round of campaigning.
Trump is not on the ballot in the midterms, in which the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are up for grabs. But in a hard-driving series of rallies around the country the most polarising US president for decades has put himself at the centre of every issue.
Millions of Americans will be barred from casting ballots in Tuesday’s crucial midterm elections due to electoral rules at the state level, which effectively exclude many minority voters to the detriment of Democrats.
Here’s a look at states where these restrictions could impact the poll’s outcome.
Nearly six million Americans are excluded from voting because they are imprisoned, on parole or awaiting sentencing.
African-Americans, who are overrepresented in the US penal system, are four times more likely to be unable to vote than the rest of the population, according to The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organisation.
Rules vary widely by state, with some like Maine and New Hampshire allowing inmates to vote.
But in places such as Kentucky, Iowa, Virginia and Florida, any conviction, even for a minor offense like possession of marijuana, results in lifelong disenfranchisement. In Florida, 1.5 million people are disenfranchised.
Proof of residential address
There is no national identity card in the United States, with each state defining what documents can be used as identification at the polling station.
And according to the American Civil Liberties Union, an influential civil rights organisation, several states have imposed restrictive rules since 2010.
Exact match rules
In Georgia, the data voters provide when registering at the polls have since 2017 been compared to those given when applying for a driver’s license or social security number.
If there are discrepancies, authorities might refuse the registration.
Some 53,000 applications are currently pending, 70 percent of which belong to African-Americans, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, has pushed back against Republican opponent Brian Kemp for accusing Democrats of hacking voter registration systems, a charge he levelled without evidence.
“I think, unfortunately, Secretary Kemp has not only abused his power, he has failed to do his job,” Abrams said in an interview with ABC on Monday. “And you don’t deserve a promotion when you do not serve the people you’ve been hired to serve.”
Kemp, the pro-Trump Republican candidate in Georgia’s governor’s race, who also oversees the state’s elections, made the accusation on Sunday, a move analysts said highlighted the inherent conflict between his twin roles.
Figures compiled by data analysis firm Catalist, puts the number of people voting before polling day in the 2018 midterms at more than 12 million people higher than 2014.
In 2014, 19,052,732 people voted early in the midterms, in 2018, the number so far is 31,299,060.
The number of young people voting early has more than doubled. The figure for people under 30 in 2014 was 1,027,499 and in 2018, the number so far is 2,314,126.
The Democrats may be polling higher nationally, but they have their work cut out in trying to get control of the Senate.
As it stands, the Republicans have a slender 51 to 49 majority in the upper house of Congress.
Birmingham University’s Professor Scott Lucas explains that most seats up for election are Democrat and the ones that are Republican are mostly in GOP strongholds.
“Despite the seven percent polling lead, Democrats have a far tougher task than with the House, as they are defending 25 of the 35 contested seats, and the 10 Republican seats are all in GOP strongholds,” he said.
“There are nine key races, with five of the seats currently held by Democrats and four by Republicans: Florida (D), Indiana (D), Missouri (D), North Dakota (D), Montana (D), Tennessee (R), Texas (R), Nevada (R), Arizona (R).
“Democrats will struggle to take Texas or Tennessee on current projections. So they must win the other two GOP seats and hold their five vulnerable seats.”
What attracts support for Trump in Estill County, Kentucky? The US president may not be on the ballot but for these voters the Republican’s promise to bring new jobs to the deeply Red state resonates strongly.
A CNN/SSRS poll says the Democrats have a 13 point lead over the Republicans nationally, with 55 percent of voters preferring the party to the GOP’s 42 percent.
Women are more likely to vote Democrat than republican by a margin of almost two to one, while men were evenly split along party lines, according to the poll.
White men are most supportive of the Republicans, with 57 percent support, with the number rising to 67 percent for those without college degrees.
Controversial Republican gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, who is also overseeing Tuesday’s election in Georgia has accused his opponents, the Democrats, of trying to hack the state’s online voter database.
Kemp, has drawn criticism for refusing to relinquish his role as Georgia’s secretary of state, while he stands for governor.
“I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cybercrimes,” said Candice Broce, who works for Kemp.
Rebecca DeHart, executive director at the state Democratic Party called the announcement a “political stunt” to cover up weaknesses of a system Kemp runs.
Kemp’s opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, has called him “an architect of voter suppression” and said he’s used his current position to make it harder for certain voters to cast ballots.
If elected, Abrams would be the first black governor of a US state.
Republican National Committee chairperson Ronna McDaniel has said she knows “good people too are trying to get into this country”.
“They see the prosperity, they see the economic growth”, she said in an interview with CNN on Sunday regarding a controversial video US President Donald Trump tweeted last Wednesday that critics have called “racist”.
The video depicts Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican immigrant who was deported from the US, but returned and was convicted in February of killing two California deputies.
Text on the video alleges Democrats “let him” into the US, followed by images of the migrant caravan, composed largely of Hondurans, currently passing through Mexico on way to the US.
“Who else would Democrats let in?” the video asks.
The video’s claims about Bracamontes were rated as “pants on fire” by Politifact, a fact-checking journalistic outlet.
The rating is a reference to the idiom – “Liar, liar, pants on fire” – and Politifact considers statements worthy of this designation as those which are “not accurate” and make a “ridiculous” claim.
“The reality is that Bracamontes’ last illegal entry was under Bush, a Republican president. The majority of his time going undetected was also on the Republican watch,” Politifact wrote.
The 2018 midterms are set to be the most expensive on record, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a Washington, DC-based group that tracks political spending.
CRP estimates total spending to cross $5.2bn, a 35 percent increase over the 2014 midterms, in which spending remained short of $4bn. The group said it would be the largest increase in at least two decades.
“The significance of this election is clear. But whether it’s a blue wave or a red wave, one thing is certain: a wave of money is surging towards Election Day, much of it coming from the wealthiest donors targeting this year’s most competitive races,” Sheila Krumholz, CRP’s executive director, said on the group’s website.
Both the US parties are raising funds at record levels, but CRP said the sizeable increase is being driven primarily by Democrats.
Democrat candidates are expected to spend over $2.5bn this year, while the figure for the Republicans stands at roughly $2.2bn, according to the group.
Most opinion polls and political handicappers expect Democrats to win the 23 seats they need to assume control of the 435-seat House of Representatives.
Democrats currently hold 193 seats in the House, while Republicans control 235. There are also seven vacancies, according to the US House of Representatives Press Gallery.
All 435 seats are up for grabs on Tuesday.
Republicans are favoured to keep control of the 100-seat Senate, where they currently control 51 seats. Democrats control 47 seats. There are two Independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. They both caucus with the Democrats, effectively bringing the number of seats they control to 49.
There are 35 Senate seats contested this year, 26 of which are held by Democrats.
With the midterms just two days away, big rallies are expected by US President Donald Trump and former President Barrack Obama on Sunday.
Obama will be campaigning in Indiana starting from 19:00 GMT, and will headline a get-out-the-vote rally at the University of Illinois at 22:00 GMT.
Trump will hold MAGA rallies in Macon, Georgia, and at 23:00 GMT in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be rallying in Pennsylvania from 23:30 GMT.
Al Jazeera on Sunday will be looking at how women’s participation is expected to change the national landscape. Dismayed by Trump’s approach towards women, more than a million marched on Washington to protest his election.
Many are also furious over his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh who could rule against abortion rights. An unprecedented number of women – many of them new to politics – are running for office at all levels.
A wave of robocalls using racist language went out in Georgia in recent days, apparently aimed at undermining the campaign of former state politician Stacey Abrams, who is running to become the first black female governor in the United States, according to her and her rival’s campaign.
The calls impersonated media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who earlier this week campaigned with Abrams, and also featured anti-Semitic language, according to audio of the call heard by Reuters.
Both Abrams and her rival, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, denounced the calls, with the Republican calling them “absolutely disgusting.”
The issue of voter suppression has been central to the race in Georgia, where Kemp is the state’s top election overseer.
Two federal courts on Friday issued rulings ordering the state to allow some 3,000 naturalized US citizens to vote in Tuesday’s elections and preventing the state from throwing out some absentee ballots.
A similarly racist round of calls went out in August in Florida, targeting Democratic candidate Andre Gillum, who is black.
As of Friday night, almost 32.4 million people had cast ballots early across the US, according to The Election Project at the University of Florida, which tracks turnout. That is up more than 50 percent from the 20.5 million early votes cast in all of 2014, the last federal election when the White House was not at stake.
Trump is hitting the campaign trail hard in the last few days before the midterm election. He held rallies in Montana on Saturday and has a number scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
He’s in the midst of a final sprint to Tuesday’s midterm elections, and will be in Montana and Florida later Saturday to campaign for Republican candidates.
The president says in an early morning tweet that “Everyone is excited about the Jobs Numbers – 250,000 new jobs in October. Also, wages rising. Wow!”
The government reported Friday that employers added 250,000 jobs last month. Unemployment remains low and pay rose at a healthy pace.
Trump held rallies Friday in West Virginia and Indiana, where he stayed overnight.
Trump opened those rallies by highlighting the economic new
In the northwestern US state of Washington, a Republican state politician is facing backlash for distributing a document outlining the guidelines for a “holy army” and advocating killing people who violate “Biblical law”.
With criticism mounting, some donors have asked state representative Matt Shea to return their campaign contributions.
Shea, who represents Spokane Valley in conservative eastern Washington, is seeking a sixth term in the state House and has been under fire since he acknowledged in a Facebook video last week that he had distributed a four-page document titled, “Biblical Basis for War” to some of his supporters.
The document condemns abortion and same-sex marriage and says how those who don’t follow Biblical law should be punished, The Spokesman-Review reported. At one point, the document says, “If they do not yield, kill all males.”
The Nigerian army cited comments by US President Donald Trump to justify opening fire on Shia protesters earlier this week.
In the wake of the deadly violence earlier this week, the US embassy in Abuja urged the Nigerian government to “conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law.”
But that did not stop the army from pointing to Trump’s comments about Central American migrants and refugees as justification.
The army’s official Twitter account shared a video of Trump suggesting that US soldiers could respond with force to migrants who throw rocks on the US border. “When they throw rocks … consider it as a rifle,” Trump said in the video.
The video has since been deleted.
At a town hall event on Thursday night, Kaleb Van Fosson, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, likened Steve King’s views to those of Robert Bowers, who has been charged with shooting dead 11 Jewish worshipers in a Pennsylvania synagogue.
“You and the shooter share an ideology that is anti-immigration,” Van Fosson said.
King interrupted him. “Do not associate me with the shooter whatsoever,” barked the Republican representative, who is currently in a neck-and-neck race for re-election in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District during the November 6 midterm elections.
Since 2010, at least 24 US states have introduced new measures that place tight restrictions on voting. Most of those states are controlled by Republicans.
In the past eight years, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, 13 states introduced or tightened restrictive voter ID laws, 11 have laws making it harder for citizens to register, seven cut back on early voting opportunities and three moved to make it more difficult to return voting rights to people with criminal convictions.
In most cases, the measures disproportionately affected voters of colour, who are generally considered more likely to vote Democrat than Republican.
From President Donald Trump to Oprah Winfrey, top political surrogates are fanning out in key battleground states to appeal to voters during the final days of the 2018 midterm campaigns.
Trump will rally his most loyal supporters in Columbia, Missouri, on Thursday night to boost the fortunes of Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley in his razor-thin contest against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Vice President Mike Pence barnstormed Georgia for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, while Ivanka Trump jetted to Nevada for Republican Senator Dean Heller.
Democrats, meanwhile, enlisted Winfrey’s help to motivate Democrats and crossover voters in Georgia’s race for governor.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was headed to North Dakota to help Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats and who has trailed Republican Kevin Cramer in public polling.
Los Angeles lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represents adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and is considering a 2020 presidential bid, is launching his first political ad ahead of the midterm elections.
The Democrat tweeted out a clip of the 80-second digital ad for The Fight PAC. It features a litany of people who warn that they are “mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more” and are frustrated by “the lies”, ”the cover-ups” and “the bigotry.”
Avenatti then appears on camera and says, “Our constitution says, ‘We the people, not ‘Me the president,'” he says. “Stand up. Join the fight club. Use your vote as your voice on November 6.”
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren urged college students in Ohio to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, praising him as “the nerd we need”.
The president has called Cordray a “far-left disciple” of Warren, a potential 2020 presidential contender whom Trump frequently mocks.
Cordray led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Warren promoted. He faces state Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, in a tight race for governor.
Ivanka Trump was hitting the campaign trail for two Republican candidates in the closing days of the midterms.
In Reno, Nevada, the first daughter praised Senator Dean Heller for the role he played in passing the tax overhaul and the doubling of the child tax credit that came with it.
Heller, who faces Democrat Jacky Rosen, said that this is “a close race” but that he’s never seen the Republican Party in Nevada this well-organised in a nonpresidential year.
Ivanka Trump was set to appear Friday with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in West Des Moines, helping a governor with whom she has connected on workforce and education issues.
Trump is a senior White House adviser to her father, but both stops were being made in her personal capacity.
Less than a week before the midterm elections, US President Donald Trump said his administration is finalising a plan that would deny asylum to individuals who cross the US border between official ports of entry.
Trump said he would be signing an executive order sometime next week regarding immigration. He did not detail the proposal or how it would be implemented.
Trump has been hitting the campaign trail hard this week as he attempts to energise his Republican base ahead of the midterm elections.
He has sought to stoke fear over a caravan of Central American migrants and refugees making its way to the US-Mexico border. The caravan is still more than 1,100km away and is not expected to make it to the US border for weeks.
A campaign ad tweeted by Donald Trump associates a caravan of migrants and asylum seekers heading to the US border to a murderer on death row.
Mexican citizen Luis Bracamontes was convicted of killing two police deputies in 2014. The advert shared by Trump starts with the opening line: “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!”
It then weaves between images of the killer and the caravan.
Trump, who has sought to drum up fear of immigrants before the November 6 vote, tweeted the video with the text: “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!”
Outgoing Republican senator, Jeff Flake, called the video sickening.
This is a sickening ad. Republicans everywhere should denounce it. https://t.co/5sftOt57pI
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2018
Upwards of 332,000 Texans between the ages of 18 and 29 have taken part in early voting, marking a 477-percent increase from the 2014 midterm elections, according to a survey by the data company Target Smart.
With more than 214,000 people voting for the first time, Target Smart’s data also found that the turnout of African American and Latino voters more than doubled since the 2014 midterm.
Donald Trump won Texas, traditionally a Republican stronghold, by nine percentage points during the November 2016 presidential elections, when he defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Former President Barack Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey are heading to Georgia to campaign for Democrat candidates, including governor nominee Stacey Abrams.
Republican Vice President Mike Pence is also in the state to attend rallies with Abrams’ rival Brian Kemp.
Kemp has drawn criticism for an apparent conflict of interest and has so far ignored calls to resign his position as Georgia’s secretary of state, a role in which he oversees an election he himself is standing in.
Multiple polls show a statistical dead heat between Kemp and Abrams, with a low percentage of undecided voters remaining. There’s a possibility of a December runoff, given that Libertarian Ted Metz is also on the ballot. Georgia requires that the winner garner a majority of the votes.
That’s according to CNN, which has partnered with data company Catalist. The pair found at least 23,391,086 ballots had been cast either by early voting schemes or by mail voting.
The total size of the US electorate is 157.6 million people, according to the US Census Bureau, so the number of votes already cast a week ahead of the actual election is 15 percent of the electorate.
Federal judges ordered Ohio to allow voters who had been purged for not voting over a six-year period to participate in this year’s election.
A divided 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel granted an emergency motion sought by voting-rights groups. The ruling overturned in part an October 10 ruling by a federal judge that said voters haven’t been illegally purged from Ohio’s rolls.
More than 3.4 million people in Florida have already voted, surpassing the number who voted early or by mail four years ago.
New statistics released Wednesday by the state Division of Elections show registered Republicans still have the edge, casting 1.43 million ballots compared with nearly 1.37 million by registered Democrats.
More than 1.48 million people have voted early, and more than 1.9 million people have voted by mail.
President Donald Trump took his pre-election anti-immigration rhetoric to new heights on Wednesday with a stunning threat to deploy as many as 15,000 soldiers on the Mexican border – equal to the size of the US contingent in Afghanistan.
Brushing aside accusations that his divisive rhetoric on immigration is stoking “extremism”, Trump made the announcement before kicking off a string of 11 rallies across eight states in the next six days.
Trump has repeatedly – and without evidence – claimed that the US-bound caravan of mostly Central American refugees and migrants consists of “dangerous” people.
“They’re not coming into our country,” he said of the latest group, a few thousand people who are still deep inside Mexico and far from the US border.
From the first Muslim congresswomen to the first openly gay governor of a US state, we look at the candidates who are expected to – or could – make history on Tuesday.
The most recent polls have the Democrats winning the House of Representatives and the Republicans holding on to the Senate. Those predictions come with a major caveat of course, as polls are frequently proven wrong.
Midterms are not usually a major market event but, according to this Reuters report, markets are preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump will be dealing with a deadlocked Congress, in which he will not be able to force through any major policy shift.
The result of such instability could be a drop in the valuation of some stocks.
Patricia Ackerman has gone from establishing a successful business, becoming an award-winning actress, working as an undercover FBI agent in Russia, to now possibly becoming a member of Nevada’s state assembly.
The Democrat is one of dozens of women standing in the state’s legislature during the upcoming midterm elections.
Around 40 percent of the state’s current legislature is female. Having a high proportion of female representatives “provides a more collaborative leadership”, according to Congressional scholar, Jordan Tama.
The Spirit Lake Sioux tribe is suing the state of North Dakota over its voter identification requirements, which they say disenfranchises Native Americans.
To cast a ballot, voters in North Dakota need identification with a verifiable street address, something that’s hard to come by on reservations.
The state maintains that everyone has a street address via the statewide 911 system, but the lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund, the Campaign Legal Center and two law firms argues the system is “incomplete, contradictory and prone to error on reservations.”
The state’s voter ID laws were tightened just a few months after the Democratic incumbent, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, narrowly won her seat in 2012 with the help of the Native American vote.
The Republican-controlled Legislature maintains the changes were not due to Heitkamp’s win.
Dairy cooperative Land O’Lakes has pulled its support for Republican Congressman Steve King in light of his inflammatory comments on race.
King has regularly drawn criticism and controversy for his views on race and immigration, which many have characterised as far-right.
Experts on the far-right say the run-up to this year’s midterms has been one of the most violent in living memory.
In just the last week, 11 Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed by a white supremacist gunman, and in Kentucky, two African Americans were shot dead in a grocery store by a man who spared white customers inside.
Trump took to Twitter to blame “fake news” for “great anger” in the country.
US President Donald Trump has floated another measure that will target immigrants – ending birthright citizenship.
The Republican leader has long complained of immigrants using so-called anchor babies to establish roots in the US.
In an interview with “Axios on HBO”, Trump said he wanted to revoke the constitutional right to citizenship for babies born in US territory.
The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, introduced in 1868, says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Any attempt by Trump to unilaterally end the right would lead to a long legal battle and most legal scholars think that he will not be able to revoke the amendment.
Rather, the announcement seems in line with Trump’s wider pre-election rhetoric against immigration, including his denunciations of a caravan of migrants and asylum seekers heading towards the Mexico-US border.
A report published by the Muslim Advocates rights groups describes a swell of anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric since US President Donald Trump took power.
It documented 80 instances of “clear anti-Muslim rhetoric” employed by political candidates in 2017 and 2018, adding that 64 percent of the candidates held office before or enjoyed a presidential endorsement.