Voting has begun in the 2021 election, a collection of races that political prognosticators will be watching for clues about the themes that could define the pivotal 2022 midterm.
Voters will choose new governors in Virginia and New Jersey, new congressional representatives in two Ohio districts and new mayors in some of the nation’s largest cities.
Polls opened early on Tuesday, but early voting has been going on for weeks in some states.
The results will be dissected for any inkling of what they can tell us about 2022, when Republicans will try to retake control of Congress from the slim Democratic majority.
Democrats have an eight-seat advantage in the House, and control the split Senate. All 435 seats in the House will be up for election in 2022 along with 34 seats in the Senate.
Election Day is the first test for some of the hundreds of new voting laws adopted in the year since the 2020 election.
USA TODAY analyzed 254 new laws in 45 states passed since voters cast their ballots last year in the highest turnout election in American history. The analysis reveals changes, seen and unseen, to how we vote.
Those laws include changes to the number of days available for early voting and the hours available to cast ballots on Election Day.
In Boston, the contest between city council members Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu means whomever wins will become the city’s first woman and first person of color elected mayor.
The candidates, both Democrats in a nonpartisan race, have chiefly clashed over issues such as affordable housing, public education and transportation. But differences on policing and crime have also emerged.
Wu, daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and a protégé of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has called for major police reforms. Before she was a candidate, Wu joined other city council members in calling for a 10% cut to the police department’s budget.
Essaibi George, who describes herself as Polish-Arab American, has opposed reallocating the money and has called for hiring several hundred more police officers. She was endorsed by former Boston police Commissioner William Gross.
– Associated Press
Eleven Democrats, two Republicans and a handful of other candidates are running in the southern Florida district.
The special general election is scheduled for Jan. 11.
– Rick Rouan
While the Virginia governor’s race has been getting much of the national attention in the runup to Election Day, some other elections also could tell us more about what to expect in the 2022 midterm election.
Tigher-than-expected races for New Jersey governor and Ohio’s 15th congressional district could drop some hints about which way the political weather vane is pointing in 2022. Democrats will be trying to cling to their slim majority in the House next year.