Midterm Election Day 2018: Here’s Your Voting Open Thread!

It’s today! It’s the midterm elections. So many of us have been waiting for this day with cautious hope, and some of us with emotions related to anxiety, or excitement, or the emotion of constantly texting our friends and relatives about voting. Now it’s here! Maybe you’ve prepared for this day by reading our midterm voting guide to LGBTQ candidates; maybe there’s a local candidate, race or issue with national implications in your region. Maybe you’re just excited about the possibility of flipping House seats! Here’s how to find your polling place through Vote.org; here are guidelines on voter registration state by state; your state may offer day-of voter registration at the polls!

Maybe you’ve voted early; maybe you’re voting today! Maybe you can’t vote in the US, and you’re here to participate vicariously. Maybe you live outside the US but our elections inevitably impact you and you want to know what the heck is going on! Regardless, come hang out and let us know what’s on your mind. How did your voting experience go? Are you watching the numbers come in? What local ballot measures or seats are you paying most attention to? Did you get a sticker? Show us!! I’ll be here more or less all day to commiserate and wait for results with you. Here’s the NYT official Calm Place; no reason just sharing!!! Fingers crossed!

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1043 articles for us.

127 Comments

  1. Dear USA.
    Here in Europe the 6th of November is half done already, and there’s no getting our morning back. But on your side of the pond, there’s a whole day ahead, and I’m sending SO many thoughts your way that people stand up, show up, speak up, and clear the thousand hurdles in their way to get out there and vote.
    We believe in you. Go go go.

    • Yuppers, NZ has already crossed over into “tomorrow”, and we’ve got 90 minutes to go on the eastern coast of Oz.

      So yet another night I’ll go to bed with trepidation, but I hope that the result when I wake up tomorrow is nowhere near as bad as the last time I woke up after a major US election.

      For those Americans curious as to why we care so much, well, the US unfortunately highly affects the globe in terms of militarism, trade agreements, financial markets and so on. For those of us in countries allied to the US, our extreme right-wing arseholes often look to the US for policy “inspiration”, and quite frequently, US organisations outright interfere in our media and elections (at the invitation of said local arseholes, mostly).

      Anyway, good luck to everyone trying to get your country back on a more even and humane keel. Hopefully there will be a short sharp shock to the Trumpists, and some hope to empower everyone else.

      • “For those Americans curious as to why we care so much, well, the US unfortunately highly affects the globe in terms of militarism, trade agreements, financial markets and so on. For those of us in countries allied to the US, our extreme right-wing arseholes often look to the US for policy “inspiration””

        Oh, yeah, I agree 100% for sure. Just a few examples of “inspiration” on my country:

        – We debated legalization of abortion this year (we lost of course). Those attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion (selling baby parts, forcing abortions, late-term abortions)? Well, it seems that the American Family Association and Americans United for Life sent all their scripts to several of our Senators and Congressmen.

        – We have a Comprehensive Sexual Education Law since 2006 but is not mandatory for all our Provinces. So, after the debate on abortion and taking into consideration the number of teenage pregnancies we have (1 in 6 births comes from teenage mothers) and the escalation of STDs, our Congress is trying to make this mandatory. The answer? “Con mis hijos no te metas” (not with my children). Sounds familiar, no?

        – And now we have this rejection, coming from the catholic and evangelical churches and related to sexual education, to “Gender Ideology”. Once again this sounds pretty familiar to me.

    • Absolutely. It seems like almost everything the legislature does is a power grab. I don’t remember the last time they were in the news for doing something reasonable. (Even McCrory teamed up with the other governors to tell them off!)

      I just hope the #NixAllSix campaigning works. I’ve seen more ads for the victims’ rights amendment and against the last two and against all of them than for any of the rest, so there’s a chance?

    • I was voting last week and there was a poll worker helping an old lady vote at the booth beside me. She was telling her what each amendment was about and she wasn’t even close to getting it right. She was using the simple and misleading terms that they were written in. I realize she probably doesn’t even know the full gravity of all six.

      I’ve been afraid to look at any of the results that are coming in now. I feel so burned and disillusioned. Plus, I’m in Virginia Foxx’s district, and I don’t see that old b***h getting voted out. I hate that woman.

  2. I voted! I voted this morning before work (largely so I can wear my sticker and feel virtuous all day). No line, although a steady stream of voters, and my polling place also had complimentary food, which was nice.
    I’m very nervous about how this will turn our, but excited to have done my part.

  3. Voted! Barely got a spot in the overflow parking lot 3 min after polls opened. My friend got a rejection of her registration unless she confirmed citizenship, and it seems like the clerk has registered her but not in time for the rolls so the poll worker is gonna have to call the clerks office. I really hope it works out for her, and it seems pretty outta line to be asking ppl to do an extra step to confirm they are a citizen after they signed under penalty of perjury that they are. If anyone has that happen to them, fight for your right to vote! You can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE for help.

  4. As a US citizen I feel an immense responsibility because I realize how much our elections impact those who cannot vote in them. In Massachusetts we have a ballot question on whether to keep an existing law that prohibits discrimination against trans folks in public accommodations. It’s painful that an action to repeal the law is even on the ballot but I hope we can show the world we’re not going back, we won’t lose this important progress

    • I currently live in CO, but most of my friends and family are in MA. I made sure to tell them about question 3 early, sent them Autostraddle’s article about it, and got people to confirm that they knew which vote was which (since sometimes those things can be confusingly worded). Since I don’t really know anyone who wasn’t going to vote, it seemed like a good place to focus my efforts. Fingers crossed…

  5. I voted this morning in CT-2! My particular slate of candidates is not particularly glamorous this year; the Governor’s race is probably the most interesting thing and it’s still two boring dudes. I wish I could have voted for Jahana Hayes! She’s probably the most interesting, exciting candidate in the state but alas, not my district.

    Since I moved in the spring, I keep forgetting to get my address-amending sticker for my driver’s license so the poll workers made me pull up a bill on my phone to prove where I lived. It was kind of odd because when I voted in the primary, they told me they just needed to see my name and the address didn’t matter. I haven’t checked the laws thoroughly but I suspect these poll workers today made me jump through an unnecessary hoop.

  6. I voted in Oklahoma just now. I’m happy about it, but I also made a mistake on my ballot, so I went to grab a new sheet. The person who got me the new ballot misgendered me (called me a “young man” about five times), and told me to sit in the “hot seat” for doing my ballot incorrectly the first time. Honestly, it made me want to cry. It’s not going to stop me from voting in the future, of course, but I could see how if someone who had a lot of anxiety had that experience, then they would be turned off from it. Plus, the person asked me if this was my first time voting, so they clearly thought I might be a new voter…why shame a new voter?

    I hope everyone else has a more positive voting experience! <3

  7. I voted during the early voting period and I despaired the entire time! I live in a fairly red part of North Carolina so I have no doubt that my votes for Democrats will mostly go canceled out. Also, the legislature’s bogus slate of constitutional amendments that are on the ballot–I voted against all of them, but I have no idea what’s going to happen. One thing I’ve realized during all this is that I feel like I know a lot more about the way the federal government and the US constitution work than the NC versions–and I’m getting the impression that the NC constitution is far, far too easy to mess with when legislators get too much power and decide they want more.

    However, I’m excited about this year’s Supreme Court race! Short version: after a lot of shenanigans in the legislature (if you don’t watch soap operas but you love drama this has been a fantastically entertaining thing to follow this year, let me tell you!), there are two Republicans (the qualified incumbent, Barbara Jackson; and some lawyer, Chris Anglin) and one Democrat who is a rad civil rights lawyer, Anita Earls on the ballot. Recent polls show voters split on the Republicans and giving Earls a good lead, with a fair number undecided. It’s looking like it’ll be interesting!

    Also a little depressing, because Anglin is, presumably, only splitting the vote in the polls because the incumbent is a woman and voters don’t know/care that Jackson is a sitting justice and more qualified than this rando who just showed up after the legislature eliminated judicial primaries and made judicial races partisan in an effort to ensure her re-election that is now biting them in the ass.

    That was supposed to be shorter, but the shenanigans of our state’s legislators are never-ending. If you’re a North Carolinian and you’re not familiar with this judicial tomfoolery by the legislature, look it up; it may be a brief bright spot in your hellishly gerrymandered existence.

      • @pecola (am I doing the @ thing right?) I definitely felt some glee voting for Earls when I did. I always enjoy voting for candidates I actually want to win, and the feeling is only increased when I both want my candidate in AND the other candidate out!

        It can be pretty easy to be apathetic about some things–say the only person running for X county-level office is also the incumbent. They don’t have to campaign, there’s no information, so, like…if they’re not literally throwing rocks at my car or something and the local paper hasn’t said they’re involved in throwing rocks at other people’s cars…okay? Sounds good? Glad someone wants to do it?

        Ooh, but when I actively like or don’t like someone? Here we go. You better believe I used all my practice from years of taking standardized tests in schools to fill in some BUBBLES on that ballot. My Scantron hand was READY.

      • @internrachel The changes the legislature made to the judicial races and how it’s affecting this supreme court race really is pretty interesting. To flesh out what I wrote above a bit more, here’s some more of what happened:

        After Anglin changed his party affiliation to Republican and entered the race (judicial races are now partisan and have no primaries at this point, so it’s a free-for-all in the general and they wanted the Democrats to bite!), the legislature passed a law retroactively stripping his party affiliation by saying one had to be registered with one’s party for some amount of time he hadn’t met in order to run with that affiliation. This actually affected more than just Anglin, but the Supreme Court is the highest-profile case.

        Anyway, Anglin sued and won, and he is on the ballot as a Republican!

        I haven’t seen as many campaign ads as I expected about it; I did hear one fantastic radio ad that I think was paid for by a completely unrelated candidate/public figure/something not Barbara Jackson? saying that Jackson is the only REAL Republican in the race (probably true) and that Anglin is a plant by the Soros gang or something and that Earls is a dangerous social justice warrior. I wish you could DVR the radio, so to speak, because repeating all that makes me feel like I’m making things up. But I’m pretty sure I heard it!

        Anyway, I love drama but I can’t keep up with TV shows so this kind of thing is perfect for me, especially if it ends with Anita Earls on the Supreme Court.

  8. Dropped off my mail-in ballot before school! I’m a teacher, so luckily I’ll be distracted most of the day, otherwise I’d probably be pretty anxious. I’ll still stress-eat candy, but that’s already part of my routine.

  9. To anybody else in a deeply red spot.
    Someone I dearly wish to vote out is untouchable, but I’m still going to vote cause it’s my chance to say fuck you not going down quietly and that’s better than just giving up.
    Which is what not voting is.

      • There’s this concept I learned in Catechism class in Catholic school I don’t know how to articulate very well…but it’s basically Do the Thing even if it’s seems inconsequentially small because you’re not the only person in the world. You might not win, but you’ll inspire others who could win.
        Be the spark of rebellion.

        I think what I’m trying to say is I hear ya.

        • “You do not have to complete the work, but you are not permitted to abandon it.” I think this formation of the idea is a Jewish one (help me out, Jewish straddlers, I tried googling and just got ads for people who will write college essays for you :eyeroll:)

          Anyway where would we be if not for all the generations before us who kept trying even when they didn’t see results? I voted not because I think my individual vote will make any difference – my district is very blue – but so I could show my daughter and talk to her about how important it is. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” [MLK]…if enough people push on it hard enough for long enough.

  10. Californians: Yay or Nay on keeping daylight savings time?!

    (I feel like this is the most a-political, who cares, we can actually talk about this without getting into an all out fight ballot issue).

    My wife and I voted to keep it. It doesn’t bother us, we kinda like the time changes and getting to see different times of day, and it keeps life a little interesting.

  11. I voted early and am hoping beyond hope that Beto beats Cruz and a local independent beats my current state representative. I will spend the night stress cleaning with plenty of alcohol to cope and trying not to watch much until later in the night as more results come in. After 2016 I don’t know how much I can put myself through.

  12. On stressful days like this, I crave AS community so hard 💓 really glad for this open thread. My wife and I filled out our ballots last Sunday and dropped em off already. Sending love & strength to you all!

  13. My seven year old this morning noted that it’s election day. I’m taking her with me after work to vote. She asked me if I’m going to vote for the candidate that is nice to the gays and lesbians. I said yes and she approved. What a change from when she first came to my house and said two girls can’t get married, that’s weird. She also has said we need to vote for the girls. Warms my heart.

  14. I voted this morning in San Francisco and it made me happy to see another young person there, making her voice heard. Got my sticker!

    In California, the stakes for representatives never feel that high to me because the state is still blue despite the large pockets of red. But I have voted in every election I could since I turned 18 and I never intend to stop.

    Sending all my good vibes and love to everyone in a state where ballot measures threaten to take away your rights or representative seats are up for grabs.

  15. Thank you for the thread! My spouse and I got our ballots about 45 minutes after the polls opened and I was number 106 in my district! This is huge because at the same time of day for the primaries I was like number 25. YAY voter turnout. I live in a largely blue district so I’m not sweating the local elections too much. BUT I am super sweating the Michigan Governorship. We have a track record of flip-flopping parties and the outgoing Governor (Boooooo) is a Republican, so I’m hoping that combined with high voter turnout we can return to some semblance of leadership for the people in Michigan, or at the very least stop poisoning people. I’m so anxious about it!

  16. Michigan: YES on Prop 2 (independent redistricting so we can get better representation in legislatures! this is a MUST for redistricting in 2020 that will last until 2030) and YES on Prop 3 (make it easier to vote – it is so hard to vote here!)

  17. I voted early in Dallas, TX last week. It feels foolish to be hopeful after the nauseating not-even-close defeat of Wendy Davis, in whom I have been invested since sitting in that gallery and watching her moving filibuster. But this is a different time so I’m being foolish and hopeful again not only for Beto O’Rourke (whose win would have national significance) but also for badass queer candidates Mark Phariss (state senate) and Lorie Burch (US congress).

  18. Voted by mail in Illinois, and I definitely spent more time researching local ballot issues than I ever have before, so I’m nervous overall but feeling good about the decisions that I made.
    ALSO if you’re voting in Chicago, one of the judges up for a retention vote is Matthew E. Coghlan, who in 2017 was named in a lawsuit alleging that he helped a CPD detective frame a defendant for murder in 1993. The defendant has since been exonerated and filed a civil rights lawsuit against Coghlan, so you should take this into consideration for the judicial retention portion of the ballot.

      • In Illinois they do a terrible job of releasing what the ballot measures are going to be. And they’re really more of a poll that lawmakers use to direct policy. It’s not like MA, CA, or CO where there’s an actual law to look up and read or where the results of the ballot are legally binding.

    • Researching the judges is the hardest part of voting in Chicago! There were 59 of them on the ballot this year! I had to bring a list with me of the judges I wanted to vote not to retain otherwise I would neve have remembered the correct names.

        • Yes, that many! Absolutely bonkers! I’m recovering from an injury on my dominant arm and had to go home and apply heat packs after voting. Finding info on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District isn’t that hard, I just always forget what the board is responsible for and have to look it up before the election. There were 5 seats on the ballot this time. Funny story: one of the people running for MWRD is named Debra Shore and my partner kept calling her Dinah Shore.

  19. Huge, huge thank you to everyone on the AS staff who put so much effort into all your election work – finding information for us, making space for us to support each other and everything else you did. It feels great to be part of a community taking positive action. Even though we’re guaranteed not to get every result we want – even if things go horribly – it will still have been worth it just to build for the future.

    • YES our politics team did such an amazing job, and Heather did such incredible work spearheading things! you’re right, even though our control of the results is limited, it feels good to be surrounded by people who are working to do something. <3

    • Those of us with vote-by-mail states tend to have positive experiences as well! I researched all the ballot measures last night while in my PJs after a long, relaxing bath, then stuck the ballot in a drop box. Easy peasy.

      You do kind of miss out on the communal spirit of the thing when you don’t wait with fellow citizens and get a sticker and hot apple cider or whatever, but making it super easy and accessible is more important than all that. (Plus those who want to vote in person still can, if they prefer.)

      • vote-by-mail sounds like a lovely experience, honestly – i ran a marathon on sunday and it’s pouring rain in NYC today and i would’ve really loved to hide in my apartment after researching all those ballot measures! but it did feel good to be able to thank the poll workers in person and put my sticker on and smile at my neighbors, even if i was limping a little.

        also hot apple cider at a polling place? is that a thing?? it sounds magical.

  20. So glad that Oregon does mail-in ballots, I voted two weeks ago. There are some very important measures that need to not pass and the governor race is concerning, hoping Kate Brown will keep her position.
    Currently anxious but distracted by my brand new kitten that I got just last night. Sweetums is sending all of you good sleepy calming vibes for your election anxiety as well

  21. Man, I’m a lot more stressed today than I expected to be! Wish I had gone to AS earlier in the day and vented in this thread instead of bursting out in tears in the office kitchen just now. Whoops…

    I’m extra jangly because my cat has been missing for almost two weeks. Seeing everyone’s pet selfies with their “I Voted” stickers but knowing I can’t do the same just put me over the edge.

    I’m so afraid that after two years of hearing about a blue wave, that turnout won’t match the rhetoric. I’m trying not to go on Twitter right now because it’s all anyone is talking about, but uselessly; the results won’t be in for hours, so we’re all just going around in circles.

    I did just check the status of my ballot online and it said it was received and will be counted, though, so that’s something!

  22. I’m 41, and this was my first time voting. It was also super easy. Before hand our election official sent out a leaflet detailing what each amendment meant, what a vote for or against meant, and it even had a cheat sheet for you to mark down what you wanted to vote to take into the booth with you. My polling place was about a mile away. It was crowded, but not packed. And the voting machine had a “push the button next to your choice” sort of white board thing, with a light indicating what your choice was, and final button to confirm all of your decisions. Took about five minutes overall, even for a first timer.

  23. Voted this morning, 26th Congressional District in NY. I made #80, there was no line and I didn’t get a sticker. :/

    When I got to work I got a great text message from my girlfriend, she usually doesn’t vote, but she decided that we are living in a country where she needs to participate and vote. I have been talking to her for weeks about the importance of this election, but was not expecting her to actually go vote. Her text message brought me to tears.

  24. I voted before work, Luckily it’s super busy at work and my shift doesn’t end until 8, so I don’t have time to keep checking the early results (which are often misleading). My precinct was super busy which is awesome!

  25. My girlfriend and I went together and voted. We got stickers. I got one for our cat. Then we went and got homemade Italian sauce and olives from the Italian shop downtown. It was gay and important and I’m scared, but my girlfriend is cooking dinner and the house smells like love and it might turn out ok.

  26. I was very excited to vote Yes on 3 here in MA several hours ago! That part felt great.

    Now I’m just anxiously sitting in front of my computer, unsure of where to look for the results coming in. Unsure if I even want to, because what if it’s really bad. I wish I wasn’t doing this part alone. Thanks for this space. <3

    • I’m so happy Prop 3 passed because even if the state I’m currently in is terrible and there’s a high chance a guy who quoted Nazi propaganda in his campaign ads will be our new senator, at least I know my home state loves me and I’ll be safe there.

  27. I got up early and voted on my way to work at 7 AM and got a sticker. I am purposely avoiding the news online and on TV today for my sanity. After this comment, all electronics will be off, and I will start reading Almost Everything: Notes On Hope by Anne Lamott.

  28. I voted by mail in California and then volunteered a bit this morning distributing sample ballots here in Ohio, so hopefully that will help in small but important ways. Now I am nervous but am trying to remain cautiously optimistic, hoping for good House results even if the Senate will be closer.
    MORE IMPORTANTLY, however, I wanted to give you all the beautiful present that is this video of Be Steadwell singing at A-Camp about post-voting direct action (https://youtu.be/LqO-PHOuPWM )
    [spoiler alert, it is Gay Sex}

  29. I voted early this afternoon between downpours. I am not a fan of our New York State ballot system. It’s a poster board sheet in which a voter fills in a circle for their chosen candidate which is then placed inside a cover folder with the end sticking out for voter privacy. This is then fed into a machine that sucks out the paper like a copier or fax and tallies up the votes.

    I jammed up the first machine afterwards I was instructed to use the only other machine. I jammed that up too 🤷🏻‍♀️ So after a little white haired lady fixed the machines she “walked me through it” Less I cause another jamb. You know because “you youngins can’t handle old technology” lol she was a riot. I am grateful she was there to help me not completely wreck the machines.

  30. The Democrats took the House! It feels like people have really been focusing on gubernatorial races (at least on Twitter), but this is huge!

    Floridian former inmates regaining the right to vote is also huge, both in terms of ethics and in practical, electoral terms.

    Jared Polis is the first openly gay governor! (Also, for my fellow Coloradans, Democrats gained a state govt. trifecta. Woo!) I was expecting the first one, but pleasantly surprised by the second.

    MA Question 3 passed! Expected, but fuck yeah! (I love putting the humanity of my fellow beings up for popular vote!!)

    Oh, and Kim Davis got the boot. Not sure how the hell she still had her job, but never mind. Later, loser!

    The governorship losses in FL, GA, and TX are disappointing, but the above are still really important and hopeful developments. Cheers to everyone who helped make it happen.

  31. I know why my polling station didn’t have any left over stickers from the last election, they’re all on ebay.
    and someday I’ll be seeing them on Antiques Road Show

    Voted, and then had food coma followed by family reunion prep.

    Results are in:
    Mr.Untouchtable won by a landslide as I expected.

    A Jim Crow era state-wide law has been struck the fuck down.

    A first time runner for a political office will be facing off against a kinda sketchy old hand in a December runoff.
    The first timer is a black woman with a history of financial advocacy work, and public service work who had a comparatively tiny campaign to everybody else.

  32. Well, I am happy to report that here in North Carolina:

    1. Anita Earls is our newest Supreme Court justice!
    2. The Democrats have broken the Republican supermajority in the legislature, which means Governor Cooper can veto things and they’ll STAY VETOED.
    3. The last two of the constitution amendments were rejected.

    I am less happy to report that the remaining four amendments, including voter ID, passed, but I don’t have a lot of experience with North Carolinians voting on bad amendments (Amendment 1 during a primary election in 2012 still stings a bit) and I kind of expected the worst so I’m going to try to stay happy that it’s Not Quite As Bad As It Could Have Been.

    • The voter ID is the one I’m most bummed about. It’s freaking unconstitutional. Not real happy about the other three but at least the judiciary ones didn’t pass, so that’s something. In my area, we’re still pretty staunchly Republican, but there’s been progress.

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