A Scoop on the Midterm Elections: A Resource Guide for Students

One of severals article about November 6, 2018

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, voting on November 6 should be considered a civic duty and an important opportunity to let elected government representatives know how you feel about the state of the United States.

This year, all 435 U.S. House of Representative seats, as well as 35 Senate seats, are up for grabs. In New York State, voters will also be deciding on the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Comptroller, State Assembly and State Senate.

Voting is important for any eligible citizen, but is especially relevant to Hunter. With almost 17,000 undergraduate students, 91 percent come from New York State, 60 percent of that from New York City alone. Hunter is also 68 percent female, and in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, it is clear how powerful a Senate seat can be (and New York just happens to be having a senate election).

As a public college, Hunter also shows considerable diversity, as the 2017 statistics place the attendance breakdown at 33 percent Asian, 12 percent Black, 24 percent Hispanic, and 31 percent white. At least 41 percent of students had parents who were both born outside of the United States, and at least 20 percent of the students are foreign born themselves. This type of diversity is the basis of the original ‘melting pot’ mentality, and, thus, it is important for eligible voters to cast their ballots and support the rights of the multicultural/multi-ethnic student body.

Hunter Fact Book

In preparation for your turn in the voting booth, here are some great resources to get you as informed and ready to engage as possible.

● While it is too late to register for the upcoming election, if you are registered, it is a good idea to make sure that your voter registration is active. You can do so with Resistbot, a software designed to help citizens get in contact with their representatives. You can find more information here.  The Board of Elections also has a system to determine if you’re registered, and has the added bonus of letting you know where you can vote: Click here.

● If you wish to vote but will not be in New York City, you may be eligible for an absentee ballot. The application can be found here.

● If you are registered, find out who will be on your ballot. Who’s On The Ballot determines the candidates who will appear on your ballot, and all you have to do is input your address, or even just your zip code. This site gives the names of the candidates, a short summary of their attributes (their party affiliation and their main issue), and links to their websites, social media accounts, and campaign funding information. It also tells you your polling site address here.

● If you are voting, it is important to know your rights. The American Civil Liberties Union has compiled a wealth of information on voting rights, including information on and changes to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as recent news on voter suppression: Here.

● In New York specifically, this midterm election will introduce a new two-page ballot. New York 1 has provided an explanation for the elongated form, which can be found here.

● NY1 noted the addition of three referendum questions on the back, these referring to community boards, campaign finance, and the Civic Engagement Commission. More information on these topics can be found at FLIP YOUR BALLOT AND VOTE ON THE ISSUES.

● It is also important to be aware of key players in midterms across the country, as even a local election in the mid west can impact Washington and, thus ,shape national policy. Senate races are being watched very closely – check here –  and there have been many underdogs rising up for seats across the board – read this.

● This election is so important because it has the potential to shift the power balance, as Republicans control the House and the Senate. It is also really the only chance to weigh in on the current administration, and these elections will have a considerable impact on issues such as transgender rights, immigration, women’s rights, to name a few.

The following articles discuss the importance of the 2018 midterm elections in depth:
Midterms 101: What You Should Know About the Elections.
The 9 most important state legislature elections in 2018, explained
Michael Cohen says the midterm elections ‘might be the most important in our lifetime’
Everything you need to know about the Midterms

● Low voter turnout is a huge problem that plagues U.S. elections and midterms in particular. As this election is key, the implications of voter turnout, either high or low, are being closely analyzed: How Voter Turnout Could Affect the 2018 Midterm Elections.


Bressni Neary can be reached at Bressni.Neary93@myhunter.cuny.edu