Politics and Government
Elections and Voting
US Government

What's on the ballot for today's election?

Answer

Xavier Hills
11/05/2019

Nov. 5, 2019 is an election day in many states, and millions of Americans will be directly affected by the outcome of today’s votes.

Many voters will be surprised to hear about November elections in an odd-numbered year. Five states—Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—hold elections for state executives and state legislators on odd years for a variety of historical reasons. Kentucky, for instance, has held odd-year elections since 1850 in what was originally an effort to "end the confusion of gubernatorial and presidential races the same year."

Some of the candidates and issues on the ballots on Nov. 5, 2019:

  • Kentucky - Republican Governor Matt Bevin will defend his office from Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. While Kentucky is a red state, Bevin has historically low approval ratings, and some pundits believe that Beshear could flip the gubernatorial vote.
  • Mississippi - In an open-seat gubernatorial race, Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves holds a slight advantage over state Attorney General Jim Hood according to most polls.

    Mississippi is also an extremely red state, and Hood has a significant disadvantage: To become the governor in Mississippi, a candidate must win a majority of votes along with a majority of the state’s legislative districts. If a candidate doesn’t win both, the state legislature decides the race, and the Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature.

    If Hood wins the popular vote but loses due to Mississippi’s unique election law, he might challenge the constitutionality of the result.

  • Virginia - The state legislature may change hands in tonight’s election. Republicans hold a 51-48 advantage in the Virginia House of Delegates (the equivalent to a House of Representatives in other states) and a 20-19 advantage in the state Senate. However, in February, Virginia underwent a court-ordered redistricting process that could favor Democrats.

    This may be the closest race of the night, as in 2018, control of the House of Delegates was resolved by literally drawing names out of a bowl. Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds ended their race in a virtual tie, and Virginia law says that the state election board must resolve ties by determining "by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected." Simonds and Yancey are contesting the same seat in tonight’s election.

While those are the major issues on Election Day 2019, they’re not the only issues that will be addressed; many states and cities will hold crucial votes, and if you’re planning on voting today (or if you’re on the fence), you should research your local ballot.