There are still plenty of other races where your vote makes a difference. In fact, voters in almost every state will have a chance to influence both national and local decisions through down-ballot races.
Voters in two-thirds of the states will be electing a US senator. Each one of those races matters for control of the chamber, because Republicans currently hold only a slim majority of 53 of the 100 seats.
The importance of controlling the Senate is evident in the confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Because they control the Senate, Republicans are pressing to quickly confirm the conservative jurist. She would replace the late liberal icon, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Democrats are virtually powerless to stop it.
Voters in 11 states also will be electing governors, who will shape the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and other contentious issues, including abortion, crime, climate change and racial inequalities.
And voters in almost all states will be electing state legislators who will determine spending for such things as public schools and colleges, infrastructure and healthcare for low-income residents.
This year’s legislative elections are even more important than usual. That is because they are the last before new round of redistricting based on the results of the 2020 census. There are more than 5,000 legislative races in 35 states where the winners will have a role in redrawing US House and state legislative districts for the next decade. How they draw those voting districts could determine which party has an advantage in future elections, and thus which policies are pursued.