It's Tuesday, November 6, and the United States of America goes to polls for the much discussed mid-term elections. Polling in several states has already begun and voters have started queuing up outside polling centres.
States in the East Coast, such as Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Carolina and Vermont threw the doors of the polling station open early and voters were seen casting their votes before work. The voter turnout, in fact, is expected to be comparitively high this election and about 36 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting.
The voter turnout was recorded at 36.4 percent in the 2014 mid-term elections and 55.5 percent in the 2016 presidential elections.
The 2018's mid-term polls is being seen as a referendum not on the ballot but on the president himself. The election is being held two years after Donald Trump was elected and even though the president will not be on the ballot, the poll will outline his remaining presidency.
The president too is aware of the impact the results could have on his presidency. "Even though I'm not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot," Trump said during a tele-town hall meeting organised on November 5, urging his supporters to cast their vote.
"The press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement."
The polls will decide whether the House and Senate will continue to be controlled by Trump's Republican Party or the power will shift to the Democrats who may win control of one or both.
The focus of these elections is the Congress, equivalent to the Parliament in many countries. It comprises the Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (the lower house). There are a total of 100 seats in the Senate and 435 seats in the House of Representatives.
While senators serve a term of six years, representatives serve a two-year term. In tune, all the 435 representative seats go to polls this year, while 35 Senate seats are up for grabs.
In addition, 36 states and three territories of the US will elect governors and a few states are even voting for other issues. Florida will also decide if convicted felons, who have served time, should be given back their voting rights.
The Republicans and Democrats are vying for the control of the Senate and the House. Fifty-one seats are needed for the control of Senate and 218 are needed for the House.
While the Republicans currently hold the majority in the House and the Senate, tables could turn if the Democrats win 23 seats to claim majority in the house and at least two seats to form a majority in the Senate. In case of a tie, vice president Mike Pence will be the tie-breaker.
Alabama: 7 am to 7 pm CST
Alaska: 7 am to 8 pm AKST
Arizona: 6 am to 7 pm MST
Arkansas: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm CST
California: 7 am to 8 pm PST
Colorado: 7 am to 7 pm MST
Connecticut: 6 am to 8 pm EST
Delaware: 7 am to 8 pm EST
Florida: 7 am to 7 pm EST
Georgia: 7 am to 7 pm (Atlanta stations will be open until 8 pm EST)
Hawaii: 7 am to 6 pm HST
Idaho: 8 am to 8 pm PST
Illinois: 6 am to 7 pm CST
Indiana: 6 am to 6 pm EST
Iowa: 7 am to 9 pm CST
Kansas: 7 am to 7 pm CST
Kentucky: 6 am to 6 pm CST
Louisiana: 6 am to 8 pm CST
Maine: Polls open between 6 and 10 am, and close at 8 pm EST
Maryland: 7 am to 8 pm EST
Massachusetts: 7 am to 8 pm EST
Michigan: 7 am to 8 pm EST
Minnesota: Most stations will be open from 7 am to 8 pm CST
Mississippi: 7 am to 7 pm CST
Missouri: 6 am to 7 pm CST
Montana: 7 am to 8 pm MST
Nebraska: 8 am to 8 pm CST
Nevada: 7 am to 7 pm PST
New Hampshire: Polls open between 6 and 11 am and end between 7 and 8 pm EST
New Jersey: 6 am to 8 pm EST
New Mexico: 7 am to 7 pm MST
New York: 6 am to 9 pm EST
North Carolina: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm EST
North Dakota: Polls open between 7 am and noon and end between 7 and 8 pm CST
Ohio: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm EST
Oklahoma: 7 am to 7 pm CST
Oregon: Voters in Oregon vote by post
Pennsylvania: 7 am to 8 pm EST
Rhode Island: 7 am to 8 pm EST
South Carolina: 7 am to 7 pm EST
South Dakota: 7 am to 7 pm EST
Tennessee: As per municipality CST
Texas: 7 am to 7 pm CST
Utah: 7 am to 8 pm MST
Vermont: Polls open between 5 and 10 am and close at 7 pm EST
Virginia: 6 am to 7 pm EST
Washington: Voters in Washington vote by post
Washington, D.C.: 7 am to 8 pm EST
West Virginia: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm EST
Wisconsin: 7 am to 8 pm CST
Wyoming: 7 am to 7 pm MST
Social media is flooded with images of early voters queuing up at polling stations.
If history is any indication, the president's party usually loses seats in the mid-term elections, which were first held in 1934. Since then, the president's party has won seats just three times in the House and five times in the Senate.
As per opinion polls, Democrats have been fairing quite well in the campaigns and this could also reflect in the number of seats they gain. Generic ballot polling that keeps a track of which party voters may back shows that Democrats are currently leading in terms of supporters by 8 percent. While 42.4 percent people have said that they are backing Republicans, 50.5 percent have said they are with the Democrats.
The president's approval rating is also said to be a good indicator of how the polls may turn out and Trump's has been low since he assumed office. Currently his rating is around 42 percent, reported BBC.
While experts are expecting a record turnout this midterms, the election has also garnered massive attention for the number of female candidates in the running. The election is even being referred to as the "pink wave."
When Will The Results Be Announced?
Results will depend on how early voting in various states end. For instance, voting in states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Carolina and Vermont will close at 7 pm EST, whereas polls in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii go on until 11 pm EST.
In tune, results should start trickling in after 11 pm EST, with a more concrete numbers appearing by Wednesday, November 7 morning.