From coast to coast, a collage of US elections unfolds

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In the battle for Democrats to maintain their majority in Congress and Republicans to win congressional and gubernatorial races, the 2022 midterm elections will show which party is capable of extending its reach beyond the states it currently controls. .

Closely contested races for the US Senate and governor in perpetually swing states like Pennsylvania have dominated the news cycle, from social media spats between the candidates Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, and the Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz to Oz spending over $20 million of his own money on his race.

Historic races in Vermont and North Carolina could break the glass ceiling and elect Vermont State Senate Leader Becca Balint as its first woman in Congress and former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, as the state’s first black female senator. She would be the only black woman in the Senate.

Not only are critical leadership positions in swing states like Georgia and Arizona at stake, but issues like mail-in voting and abortion have come to the fore in this midterm election cycle, as a result of the leftover residue from the 2020 and the subsequent denial of the election results perpetrated by former President Donald Trump, who continues to strengthen his influence in the Republican Party.

Data compiled by AP state chamber reporters and election whistleblowers in the AP Decision Notes series breaks down how each state votes, when votes will be counted, and which candidates and issues are on the ballot.

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To see all 50 states and the electoral prospects there, find it here.

ABSENTEE BALLOT

The electoral landscape has changed in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While 2020 expanded the use of voting by mail across the country, it led to slow vote counts in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia. A new law in Pennsylvania allocated $45 million to counties to help them handle the task of counting mail-in ballots to avoid a lengthy post-election count.

Last year, Georgia Republicans required ID to vote absentee, after a surge in mail-in ballots helped secure victories for Democrats in the presidential race and two U.S. Senate runoffs.

In the Maryland primary, state law prevented mail-in ballots from being counted until two days after Election Day. But the state supreme court has since ruled that counties can start counting mailings before Election Day in the general election to avoid delays.

ABORTION ON THE BALLOT

California, Michigan and Vermont are considering questions that would amend their state constitutions to provide some form of abortion rights.

The Decision Notes explain that if voters choose to amend the Michigan state constitution, a 91-year-old state law that prohibits abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother, would no longer apply. A record number of people, more than 750,000, signed petitions to put the measure on the ballot after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

RACES TO WATCH

Control of the Senate and House could pass squarely to Arizona as Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly attempts to win a full term after securing the final two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s seat in 2018. He faces a tough challenge by Trump-backed Republicans. Masters Blake.

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Trump-backed Arizona Republicans, backing his unsubstantiated claims that he lost due to voter fraud, hope to seize the offices of governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

One of the most watched races in the country is in Nevada. Democrats are trying to retain Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s seat in her race against Republican Adam Laxalt. Laxalt is a staunch ally of Trump and has embraced the falsehoods about the 2020 election.

The Georgia Senate race between Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is trying to win a full six-year term, and Georgia soccer icon and Republican challenger Herschel Walker could also determine the outcome of the Senate party breakdown.

But Walker has been embroiled in scandal when two women alleged that he encouraged and paid for their abortions. Walker has campaigned in outright opposition to abortion, supporting one of the strictest state abortion bans in the country.

Trump’s endorsement of Walker and former Sen. David Perdue for governor against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp is payback for Kemp’s not buying into the lies about the theft of the 2020 election.

North Carolina’s three-term Republican representative, Ted Budd, is one of many Trump-endorsed candidates this election cycle. Trump’s endorsement of Budd remains a crucial element of Budd’s strategy against Beasley, who outfunded him and received an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.

Democratic-led Maryland will try to recapture the governorship held by Larry Hogan, who is only the second Republican in state history to be reelected governor. The gubernatorial candidates feature Democrat Wes Moore, who could be the state’s first black governor against Trump-backed Republican Dan Cox.

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Follow reporter Nardos Haile on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nardoshaile

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Visit https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections. Follow AP’s coverage of the election at: https:/ /apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections