Why do the midterm elections matter?

Election Day is Tuesday November 6 and historically, voter turnout isn't as high at midterm elections as they are during presidential election cycles.

But midterm elections are just as important and deserve all our votes, so here's some background.

They're called midterms because they occur in the middle of a president's four-year term.

All 435 House representatives are up for election because they serve two-year terms. Only a third of the senate is up for election because they serve staggered six-year terms.

Midterm elections are import ant because we're voting for the people who make our laws. Depending on the balance of power, it will determine who controls legislation, the Republicans or the Democrats.

This affects many of the issues Americans care about like health care, abortion, education, immigration and taxes.

Fifty-one seats are needed for control of the Senate and 218 seats are needed for control of the House.

Currently, the GOP holds control of both chambers.

It's likely the GOP will retain control of the Senate because they are only defending nine seats, while the Democrats are defending 26 seats.

Predictions on the House vary,  but it's possible the Democrats could take control

Heading into the election, Republicans hold 235 seats, Democrats hold 193 and there are seven vacant seats.

So Democrats would need to pick up about two dozen seats to gain control.

If our laws matter to you, you should vote at every election.

And this year it appears Texans are making their voices heard in record-breaking numbers.

Nearly 4.9 million people voted in Texas' 30 largest counties during the early-voting period, surpassing the total number of votes cast throughout the state in the last midterm election.

Secretary of state office data show that more than 540,000 people in those 30 counties voted early on Friday, which was the last day of early voting in the state. Although Texas has 254 counties, the 30 largest are home to nearly 80 percent of the state's residents.

In the state's much-watched Senate race, both Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O'Rourke have said strong turnout would benefit them.

The nearly 4.9 million early votes exceed the 4.7 million total votes cast in Texas in the 2014 midterm election.

Although these are encouraging figures, the number of registered voters compared to the population of people who are qualified to vote is just over 75 percent.

And in this year's primary, of those registered voters, only ten percent turned out to vote.

Voter information is also available on the Texas Secretary of State website.

Click here to find your polling place.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.