The 2022 midterm elections have arrived, bringing two years of anticipation to a close as Americans finally decide the direction our nation will take over the next several years.
PEOPLE has extensively covered the consequential election cycle, which serves as a benchmark of U.S. values, since it began to unfold following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots and ousting of President Donald Trump. Over time, federal and statewide races have grown tighter and tighter, leading to numerous battlegrounds that will determine the majority in Congress and usher in a new wave of governors.
Here's a recap of what's happening in America, including the races to watch come election night, the most controversial moments on the campaign trail so far, and how volunteers and election workers are working double-time to preserve a threatened democracy. On Tuesday, check back for information on how to watch live-time election coverage on your favorite TV networks as votes begin to pour in.
Remember: Your vote is your voice, so don't skip out on making it to your local polling place on Election Day.
Ben Gray/AP Photo
PEOPLE has been following a number of battleground races that could change domestic policy for decades to come. In the 2022 midterms, reproductive rights, religious freedom, LGBTQ+ expression and school curriculum guidelines are on the ballot — and the nation's approach to these topics could be decided by just a handful of votes. [READ MORE]
In the final week of the consequential 2022 midterms season, Democrats and Republicans pulled out all the stops to increase their chances of securing victories and gaining control of how policies are shaped at the local, state and federal levels. [READ MORE]
In recent years, Oz has embraced his bruised reputation and crusaded into far-right politics, dropping the veil of neutrality he stood behind for most of his career. Now under a microscope as the pro-MAGA candidate in the Pennsylvania race for U.S. Senate, Oz routinely faces criticism for his motives, beliefs and questionable medical record — including a recently resurfaced scandal involving the cruel treatment of animals by Columbia University research teams that he oversaw. [READ MORE]
Oklahoma Democrat Spikes in Gubernatorial Polls, Suggesting Unexpectedly Close Race Against GOP Incumbent
Democrat Joy Hofmeister was averaging more than 16% behind Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in polls this summer. An Oklahoma election expert explains how she's since closed the gap, creating a new battleground race in a firmly red state. [READ MORE]
If you look up any Electoral College map from recent presidential elections, you can expect that states like Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina will be red, and states like Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia are blue. It may come as a surprise, though, that each of those states have sitting governors from the minority party. PEOPLE picked the brains of three voting pattern experts who have seen the phenomenon unfold on their own home turf. [READ MORE]
Mandela Barnes Plagued by Misleading Attacks with Racist Undertones in His Bid to Unseat GOP Sen. Ron Johnson
Negative ads stirring fear of the lieutenant governor painted the man, who would be the first Black senator from the state, as soft on crime. Now Barnes is slipping in polls. [READ MORE]
On the Campaign Trail
Ryan Collerd/AP Photo
John and Gisele Fetterman Open Up About His 'Public' Stroke, Raising Kids on the Campaign Trail: 'No Regrets'
In the final days of John Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate campaign, he and his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, tell PEOPLE they're "feeling good" about where he stands with voters after nearly two years on the road. [READ MORE]
The retired NFL player, 60, who won the Georgia Republican Senate primary in May, was responding to his opponent calling out several past instances in which Walker has lied about working in law enforcement. [READ MORE]
The moment occurred during the former president's campaign rally for Democrats in Detroit, Michigan, after he called himself "older and grayer." [READ MORE]
Amid the back and forth of partisan politics, there was a rare opportunity for unity in Wisconsin's October Senate debate, when the two candidates, Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes, were asked to name something they admire about one another. But the moment fell flat after Johnson, the Republican incumbent in the race, instead accused his opponent of being "against America." [READ MORE]
A debate between neck and neck Ohio Senate candidates Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance grew heated after Ryan accused Vance of losing his dignity to former President Donald Trump. [READ MORE]
Election Night Broadcasts
Michael Greenberg/CBS News
With so much at stake in the 2022 midterm elections, all eyes will be on the results — and on the networks and news anchors covering them. Here's how the major channels, from CNN to Fox News, plan to carry Americans through Tuesday night. [READ MORE]
Behind the Scenes at CBS News' Election Headquarters as the Team Warms Up for the Political Super Bowl
In the field of journalism, no event is bigger than election night. While most Americans spent the past week watching the World Series or doom-scrolling Twitter, the all-star team at CBS News hunkered down in windowless rooms to put months of preparation to the test. [READ MORE]
Tom Llamas, host of the eponymous Top Story with Tom Llamas on NBC News NOW, believes Latino voters will prove key in electing the next wave of U.S. leaders, as polling shows a growing number of people in the generally left-leaning voting bloc now open to supporting Republicans who promise to tackle crime and restore the economy. [READ MORE]
Fox Business reporter Hillary Vaughn is currently expecting her first baby with her husband, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy — but she'll still be on the ground Tuesday night to bring news to viewers' homes. [READ MORE]
2020 Election Haunts the Midterms
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Supporters of President Donald Trump protest the counting of votes in the general election, on Nov. 6 in Detroit.
Some are winning. Some already lost. And some decided not to seek reelection after the former president called for voters to get rid of all 10 who held him accountable for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. [READ MORE]
Election Officials Describe Quitting in Fear After Harassment from Trump Supporters: 'It's Hard to Keep Going'
A Nevada voting registrar was driven to quit her post following a campaign led by a right-wing election denier. Her story is a microcosm for Trump supporters' nationwide efforts to replace county government leaders with election conspiracy theorists. [READ MORE]
Kari Lake Falsely Claims There's a 'Lot of Corruption' in Electoral System, Suggests Restricting Early Voting
The Republican nominee for Arizona governor offered a vague response when asked whether she believes the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" from Donald Trump, saying the media is "obsessed" with the question and claiming there is "a lot of corruption in this system." [READ MORE]
"The whole tension that we're expecting to see at polling places is something we're talking to election officials about, something we're talking to law enforcement about," said former Georgia election director Chris Harvey. [READ MORE]
During a Senate Judiciary hearing in August, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said the Justice Department has reviewed more than 1,000 threats against election officials in the last year since a task force was created to examine threats against state and local officials who run elections. About 10% of the complaints the task force received warranted criminal investigations. [READ MORE]
At the Polls
As an act of appreciation for engaging in the democratic process, Vote.org will send food trucks to crowded polling places in key swing states on Election Day to hand out free treats to patient voters. [READ MORE]
Poll workers and election administrators are at once the most visible and unseen figures in United States elections. Never the stars of the show yet vital to the democratic process, their hard work is put on display for the world to see any time vote counts pour in during election week. In honor of Election Hero Day on Monday, Nov. 7, PEOPLE asked four nonpartisan election officials in various roles about the joys and challenges of keeping democracy intact. [READ MORE]
AG Garland Says DOJ 'Won't Permit' Voter Intimidation as Issues Crop Up in Arizona, Texas Ahead of Midterms
As reports of alleged voter intimidation sprout up ahead of the midterm elections, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the U.S. Justice Department "has an obligation to guarantee a free and fair vote." [READ MORE]
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared most ballot drop boxes illegal over the summer, also barring people from returning a ballot in person on behalf of another voter. Those who want to ban ballot drop boxes argue doing so will strengthen the integrity of elections and prevent voter fraud (though extensive research has shown that fraud is very rare). Critics say such measures will simply make it harder to vote, adding hurdles for those who can't easily get to a polling place to vote in person, or don't have the ability to take time off to do so. [READ MORE]
Stars Get Involved
Broad City Alum Ilana Glazer Says 'As a Queer Jewish Mama, I'm Gonna Be Patriotic as Hell' This November
In a first-person essay penned for PEOPLE, Glazer denounces far-right extremism and makes the case for voting like your "life depends on it." [READ MORE]
The British singer-songwriter partnered with nonpartisan voter engagement organization HeadCount to put a spotlight on voter registration ahead of this year's midterm elections. This year, HeadCount has registered nearly 200,000 people to vote, and nearly a third of HeadCount's total registered voters came from their partnership with Styles. [READ MORE]
Celebrities Are Rallying Volunteers to Help Voters Overcome ID Barriers: 'It's Not as Easy as It Should Be'
In partnership with VoteRiders — a nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that states' varied voter ID laws don't prevent eligible Americans from voting — a roster of stars have helped rally volunteers to write letters and send texts to registered voters who may be facing barriers in casting their ballots. [READ MORE]
Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys Among Stars Recruiting Poll Workers to Ensure Accessible Elections
Power the Polls, an initiative aiming to enlist a new generation of poll workers ahead of the midterm elections, has recruited more than 50,000 potential new election workers since it relaunched its campaign in May, thanks in part to its influential partners. [READ MORE]
Obama 'Introduces' Himself to Gen Z in Fun New Voting PSA: 'I Have the Best Jump Shot in White House History'
In the former president's widely shared PSA with ATTN, he touches on Pete Davidson's love life, Taylor Swift's Midnights album and the possibility of alien life before pleading for Gen Z to show up to the polls. [READ MORE]
Steve Jennings/Getty Images Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey endorsed Democratic candidate John Fetterman days before the election. Fetterman, the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, is in a toss-up Pennsylvania Senate race against Republican Mehmet Oz, who first rose to fame on Winfrey's show as Dr. Oz. [READ MORE]
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney Chimes In on Michigan Congressional Race — by Endorsing Her First Democrat
Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney endorsed a Democrat for the first time in October, throwing her support behind Rep. Elissa Slotkin in the race for representative of Michigan's 7th Congressional District — a race that appears to be a toss-up. [READ MORE]
Liz Cheney Expresses Support for Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan in Tight Senate Race Against Far-Right J.D. Vance
Cheney also waded into Ohio's hotly contested Senate race, throwing her support behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan. [READ MORE]
At the fifth show of his six-day, sold-out concert series in Austin, Texas, the "As It Was" singer paused to give his usual beginning-of-show speech — and revealed a new "Beto for Texas" sticker on his guitar. [READ MORE]
GOP Leaders Endorse Democrat for Pennsylvania Gov. After Republican Candidate Seen Wearing Confederate Uniform
Several Republicans in Pennsylvania threw their support behind a Democratic candidate for governor after photos surfaced of far-right GOP nominee Doug Mastriano wearing a Confederate military uniform. [READ MORE]
Check your voter registration, locate your polling place, and make a voting plan at Vote.org to ensure that your voice is heard this election season.