The day is finally upon us where we cast our votes after months of ads, debates and speeches out on the campaign trail. Just in case you haven't been paying too much attention thus far, it's not to too late to get up to speed and hit the ballots today.
Here are the top five things you need to know this Election Day.
1. The Senate
Today is all about which party will control the U.S. Senate. There are 10 races that will be toss-ups, but political analysts could be able to predict which way the Senate will lean by 10 p.m. EST. Republicans will have to be elected into six seats to win the upper chamber, where the majority currently is Democrats. Republicans are expected to take the Democratic seats in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota. Democrats are defending 21 seats of the 36 on the ballot.
However, it's possible that the country may not know what party will have control until runoffs in December or January. For example, Louisiana will have a Dec. 6 runoff if a candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote in today's turnout. The race between Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R) in Georgia also could go to a runoff in January.
2. History in the House
If the GOP is voted into 11 seats with a total of 245 votes, it will have the largest majority since the Truman administration. There are only about 25 races that are considered toss-ups. There are 435 seats on the ballot -- the entire House is up for re-election. Republicans have controlled the House since 2011 where they hold 233 seats, and need 218 seats to retain their majority.
3. Start of the 2016 Presidential race
The midterm elections will set the tone for the presidential election of 2016. Democratic favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton made about 45 appearances for the party this week and possible GOP candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made 37 appearances, raising more than $102 million for his party.
4. What is Obama's fate?
According to a Gallup poll, President Obama's approval rate has been less than 50 percent for more than one year. While the president keeps his job until 2016, since this election falls in the sixth year of his two terms, odds are against the Democratic party. According to PBS NewsHour, since the Great Depression, all seven presidents have lost party seats in the Senate in their second terms. Many of the Senate toss-ups are in Democratic states won by Obama in 2012.
Obama hit the campaign trail in support of Democratic candidates such as Mark Schauer from Michigan and Florida's (the presidential swing state) Charlie Crist, who is seeking the governor's seat, a spot he previously held from 2007-2011. In all, elections for governor will be held in 36 states.
5. Voter turnout
Today's races are expected to have a lower voter turnout compared with 2012. According to the Pew Research Center, midterm turnouts have been lower than presidential election races, dating back to the 1840s. Voter turnout is important for midterm elections because the polling margin is one or two percentage points.
So far, 16.4 million people have voted in 31 states either by mail or in person.
When tuning to the news for results, voters should consult the Associated Press, who have 5,000 people to provide vote counts and call the races on national, state and local levels.
Make sure that you get out and vote!
Photo Credit: Erik (HASH) Hersman