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5 Things Nurses Should Know About the 2022 Midterm Elections

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Published November 4, 2022 · 4 Min Read

The 2022 midterm elections will decide important issues for medical rights and the economy. Know these five things before going to the polls.
5 Things Nurses Should Know About the 2022 Midterm Elections
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) on September 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. / Brian Stukes / Stringer / Getty Images
  • The 2022 midterm elections occur on Nov. 8, 2022. Midterm elections happen every four years between the presidential elections.
  • Although there are often fewer voters during midterm elections, they are as important as the presidential elections. Every two years all the representatives to the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are voted into office.
  • The midterms in 2022 are especially important as there are 35 Senate seats, 36 state governors, three territorial governors, and 129 issues on the ballot, including wages, abortion, and medical rights depending on your state.

The upcoming U.S. midterm elections play an important role in the legislative actions expected in the next two years. Midterm elections are held on the second Tuesday of November every four years. They happen two years into the presidential term.

The upcoming midterms will be held on Nov. 8, 2022, and they are widely seen as a referendum on President Biden's first two years in the White House. There are significant issues on the ballot in the 2022 midterm election that nurses must understand before heading to the polls. Examine five things you should know before voting.

1. Which States Are Voting for What

The 2022 midterm elections will affect the entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, 39 state and U.S. territory governors, and 27 secretaries of state. According to the law, House members serve for two years, and senators serve for six years. The senator's terms are staggered, so one-third of the seats are on the election ticket every two years.

Each state is represented by two senators. The state's population determines the number of representatives in the House. The midterms in 2022 also include elections for governor, attorney general, state legislature, and secretary of state.

Governors Are Up for Election in 36 States

The governor is the state manager, responsible for carrying out laws and overseeing operations. They work with agency and department heads, many of whom they have the authority to appoint. The scope of their power depends on the state constitution and laws.

During the midterms in 2022, 36 state governorships are up for election. The map shows the states where you can expect to see a choice for governor on the ballot.

Secretaries of State Are Up in 27 States

This state-level position is voted into office in 35 states. In Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Virginia the office is called the secretary of the commonwealth. However, the duties remain the same. In 12 states the office is appointed by the governor or the state legislature.

The duties depend on the state's constitution and laws. States have different responsibilities they place on the secretary of state, though many are administrative. They often serve as the chief election official and maintain official election results.

This is especially significant this year as 19 states enacted legislation to toughen voting rules. The midterm 2022 elections will demonstrate the effectiveness of these new rules and may impact the campaign promises made by the secretary of state.

The map shows the states where you can expect to see a choice for secretary of state on the ballot.

Congress

Every two years, each of the representatives in the House of Representative come up for election. During the 2022 midterm elections, there will be 435 seats across the U.S. on the ballot. By contrast, there are 35 Senate seats up for election in the 2022 midterm elections.

The map shows the states where you can expect to see a choice for House and/or Senate representative on the ballot.

2. Who Nursing Organizations Are Endorsing

If doing independent research into candidates and ballot initiatives feels time-consuming and overwhelming, endorsements from nursing organizations you trust can be helpful.

Many state nursing organizations endorse candidates based on how the candidates say they will vote on issues that affect the nursing profession. When the incumbent is also running, the evaluation is based on their voting record.

As you consider national candidates, get a quick overview of pronurse candidates at Nursing Votes. Although it's important to know the candidates that nursing organizations are endorsing, nursing issues may not be the only issues important to you.

Depending on other issues that are important to you, state and national organizations that support your viewpoint also post endorsements. Take care to get a well-rounded view of the candidates because every vote counts.

3. What's On The Ballot

Although the midterm elections do not historically get the voter turnout that the presidential election does, the candidates on the 2022 midterm election ballot will help determine many of the decisions made over the next two years.

The outcome of midterms 2022 will be as important as the 2020 and 2024 presidential elections. For this reason, it's important to know the issues on the ballot and the candidates for whom you will vote.

It is important to take every step possible to ensure the security of your future by casting your vote for the people you believe will protect it. This 2022 midterm election will see many candidates up for election, including:

  • 35 seats in the Senate
  • 435 seats in the House of Representatives
  • 36 state governors, and three territory governors
  • Multiple city mayors and local officials
  • 129 issues across 36 states including abortion, wages, and medical rights

While this looks like large numbers, remember that you are voting only for candidates in the House and Senate, governors, mayors, and local officials in your area. For an overall view of the issues on the ballot in your state, try typing "state issues on the ballot in November - YOUR STATE" in your favorite search engine.

The secretary of state in your state is responsible for publishing the issues on the ballot. You will likely find a list of issues and explanations on the state website.

4. Issues Impacting Nurses

Abortion

No matter how you feel about abortion rights, they impact your nursing practice. In the 2022 midterm elections, nurses can vote on abortion in many states. States have added abortion-related initiatives on the ballot, which is the most ever in a single year.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned on the federal level, the right to restrict or open abortion rights reverted to each state. Nurses play a crucial role in counseling patients, so it's important you are aware of the laws in your state.

Economy

Inflation has reached the highest rate in decades. This impacts nurses personally and professionally. Hospitals are struggling with higher supply costs and a broken supply chain. Nurses are facing higher prices in grocery stores, gas pumps, and electricity to heat and cool their homes.

The impending recession will affect everyone, so it's important to understand how the candidates may choose to vote in Congress. While some aspects of federal spending, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, are already in place, further actions may either positively or negatively affect the economy.

Student Loan Forgiveness

The Biden administration announced a sweeping student loan forgiveness program that began accepting beta applications on Oct.14, 2022. This is ahead of the end of the student loan repayment pause that ends in December 2022.

However, six states recently announced they would sue Biden for overstepping his executive powers. While the legality of the move is in question, the move could erase $10,000- $20,000 in debt per student depending on certain criteria.

Loan forgiveness directly impacts nurses who may carry thousands in student loan debt after graduation. In combination with rising inflation, loan forgiveness can put more money in the bank each month. However, it's also essential to balance how forgiveness will impact your personal accounting and how it may affect the overall economy.

5. The Importance of the Nursing Vote

It is crucial for nurses to vote in the 2022 midterm elections. There are several issues on the ballot this year that impact nurses personally and professionally, depending on your state, including abortion, medical rights, wages, and the economy.

Elections for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and state senators and representatives will have a significant impact on these issues. It is a civic obligation for nurses to be involved in public policy through the electoral process. When nurses have an influence on the politics that improve patient care, they are ultimately advocating for their patients.

Voting also advocates for the nursing profession. For example, if mandatory overtime is an important issue to you, then it's crucial you work with people in the legislature who make the laws. Voting for candidates who value the nursing profession can help protect nurses' rights.

Take care to ensure you are registered to vote in enough time before the elections. Some states offer online voter registration, most offer mail-in registration, and nearly all offer in-person registration. The registration deadline was Oct. 11, 2022.

If you were not registered to vote in enough time, you can still make a difference in the 2022 midterm elections by volunteering for the candidates of your choice. It is best to confirm your voter registration before the elections, which you can do online.

Sources

2022 senate election interactive map. (n.d.). https://www.270towin.com/2022-senate-election/

GOP states sue Biden administration over student loan plan. (2022). https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/29/gop-states-sue-biden-administration-over-student-loan-plan.html

Nursing Votes is proud to support the below pro-nurse candidates in their elections. (n.d.). https://www.nursingvotes.org/candidates/

Secretary of state (state executive office). (n.d.). https://ballotpedia.org/Secretary_of_State_(state_executive_office)

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