Factbox: Elections for Congress, state, local offices

Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:21pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Voters across the United States go to the polls next Tuesday to elect senators and representatives to Congress in Washington, as well as state governors and lawmakers and local officials.

While President Barack Obama is not on the ballot, the midterm election is in many ways a referendum on his presidency, which is under pressure from voters unhappy with his handling of the weak economy and high unemployment.

Thousands of communities will elect mayors and city and county officials, judges, sheriffs and fill other local offices.

In many areas, voters will also voice their opinions on specific initiatives -- from raising or cutting state and local taxes to California's question of whether marijuana should be legalized and taxed.

Here are the numbers:


* Senate - Thirty-seven of the seats are up for election, of which 19 are now held by Democrats and 18 by Republicans. In the 100-seat chamber, Democrats now control 59 seats to 41 for Republicans. Republicans are expected to gain seats but neither party is expected to win the 60 needed to stop the other from blocking legislation with the tactic known as a filibuster. One-third of the Senate is elected every two years for six-year terms.

* House of Representatives - All 435 seats are up for election for two-year terms. Democrats now hold 255 seats to 178 for the Republicans, with two vacancies. Republicans look set to surpass the magic 218 seats needed to wrest the majority from Democrats.

In both chambers, the majority party determines what and when legislation is brought to a vote and chairs all committees.


* Governors - Elections in 37 states, of which 19 are now held by Democrats and 18 by Republicans. Only 13 governors are seeking re-election. Democrats are expected to wind up with fewer than their current 26 governorships to 24 for Republicans.

* State legislatures - Variations in state election laws and state governments mean 46 states are holding elections for 88 of 99 state chambers. Democrats now hold an edge in state legislatures but Republicans are expected to make inroads.

Party control of governorships and state legislatures takes on national importance this year, when states get to redraw U.S. congressional districts. The party in power can set boundaries to favor its candidates in elections for the next decade.


* Ballot measures - Local initiatives and referendum elections will be presented to voters in 36 states. Most concern changes in tax laws, bond issues, state budgets or government administration.

California's Proposition 19 would legalize marijuana for personal use and permit local governments to tax it. Several other states are considering changes in marijuana laws as well as rules on hunting, animal rights and liquor sales.

(Reporting by Jackie Frank; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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Comments (3)
Brittanicus wrote:
Mark my words, by the end of this election, illegal aliens will have figured out how easy it is, to check off Senator Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and even Jerry Brown on absentee ballots? This is not just saying Voter fraud is prevalent in the Border States, but every state is equally at risk. Consider the situation that Border States are heavily impregnated with foreign nationals, more so in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. That Senator Harry Reid has promised them some form of mass path to citizenship, if they vote for him in this midterm. Now when illegal aliens have already committed one offense by entering America, so committing a second crime by voting is certainly insignificant to people after the first crime. The fact that potentially filling out a registration forms to vote at home, opens a gaping loophole in the voting process.

It is a certainty that hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant homes have in that family circle at least one unprocessed person, therefore illegal entrant. That anybody can get from the Post Office, Drivers License Department a voter registration or by canvassers of which Acorn had the monopoly of this vulnerable system. Senator Reid has already proved this, by–BUYING–votes for himself, with free food and drinks. Other questions should be asked about Union who have a past history of voter fraud, should not be allowed any intimate contact with electronic voting machines. or within certain any legal distance near polling sites. Then again, in Orange County Democrats gave illegal aliens the right to prospect for votes in neighborhoods. With majority leader Harry Reid promising-AMNESTY, that any new administration and then–whatever political party is seated–better take note of the public’s fury that the majority of Americans will not sign on to any form of Amnesty whatsoever. IF ANY POLITICAL PARTY OR GOVERNMENT AGENCY HAD ANY TRUE COMMITMENT TO HALTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, THEY WOULD MAKE ILLEGAL ENTRY A CLASS ONE FELONY?

Of any open border Liberal impersonating a Dem delivering AMNESTY, to the 13 to 20 million illegal foreigners over here is–dead meat. GOOGLE–Voter Fraud; or Illegal alien costs; Another concern is that the Democrats voted–YES–on, is “totalization” agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that would grant Social Security benefits to Mexicans, including some who are here illegally, even if they didn’t work in the U.S. long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. Our Senior Citizens have been gainfully employed all their life’s and these demented souls in Washington, want to share our weak Social Security and pensions with illegal aliens? GOOGLE–illegal aliens and Social Security.

Less educated citizens have been brain-washed to believe that this seventh AMNESTY isn’t going to cost the taxpayers–ANYTHING. But ask Robert Rector, Chief analyst at the Heritage Foundation that taxes will go up, to pay the 2.6 TRILLION dollar bill. Slowly this federal government is growing and spreading and we can only hope that the Tea Party candidates will begin reduction in this monstrosity. Yesterday the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday threw out part of an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, but left standing a section requiring registered voters to present proof of identification to cast a ballot. This at least can divorce most non-citizen voters from casting a vote. This is extremely significant in tight races, when only say 800 voters can have a completely different outcome to who goes to Washington or State assembly.

To be fair, every polling location should have one Democrat and one Republican and an Independent as oversight referees to check for absentee ballots irregularities. This is where the honor system is most weak. With the money wasted by Democrats, Republicans it would be prudent to have a national Voter Identification card, with fingerprint and picture to halt for good any form of spurious voting.

Oct 27, 2010 5:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
perq wrote:
Your tinfoil hat needs adjustment.

Oct 27, 2010 5:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
morristhewise wrote:
Only a swift kicking no holds barred bull d-ke president can force unemployed men to work. She also would take no crap from lazy a-s congressmen who refuse to pass her legislation. Obama was not the one to take on the system, but a bull d-ke will kick butt and have the good times roll again.

Oct 27, 2010 7:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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