2022 midterms live updates: Latest election news from AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-ground updates on the 2022 U.S. midterm elections from The Associated Press. Live updates — all times Eastern — are produced by Ashraf Khalil, Annie Ma, Aamer Madhani, Chris Megerian, Mallika Sen and AP journalists around the country.

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STATUS UPDATE

Right as polls closed in South Carolina and Vermont, AP made its first calls in U.S. Senate races. Republican Tim Scott won reelection in South Carolina, while Democrat Peter Welch was elected from Vermont.

In defeating Trump-endorsed Republican Gerald Malloy, Welch — who has served in the House of Representatives for 16 years — becomes the junior senator from Vermont while independent Bernie Sanders becomes the state’s senior senator. Longtime U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is retiring after serving 48 years, AP’s Wilson Ring reports.

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6:30 p.m.

The last day of midterms voting has started to slowly wind down.

Polls closed in Kentucky and Indiana at 6 p.m. Eastern. The next wave of closures will be in New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Polls close or begin to close in those states at 7 p.m. Eastern.

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Voters in five states are weighing whether to approve the use of recreational marijuana, a move that could signal a major shift toward legalization in even some of the most conservative parts of the country.

The proposals are on the ballot in Republican strongholds Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as Democratic-leaning Maryland, reports AP’s Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock. The ballot measures come on the heels of President Joe Biden announcing last month he was pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.

Advocates of the marijuana initiatives are hopeful Biden’s announcement may give a boost to their efforts.

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THEY SAID IT

“This is a different breed of cat.”

— President Joe Biden

Over and over on the campaign trail, Biden has described today’s Republican Party as much different than the one he’s used to working with over several decades in politics.

Today’s Republicans, he argues, are “MAGA Republicans,” a reference to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Sometimes Biden calls them “ultra MAGA” or “mega MAGA,” and he describes their ideas as “mega-MAGA, trickle-down politics in the extreme.”

Biden made the point again on Tuesday in a radio interview with comedian DL Hughley as he made a final push for Democrats over the airwaves.

Asked why listeners should brave the rain or wait in long lines, Biden warned that “MAGA Republicans” would gain ground.

“You’ve seen what you got from that community,” he said. “It matters.”

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VOTECAST

High inflation and worries about the future of American democracy were significant factors in voters’ decisions in this year’s midterm election, according to AP VoteCast. Roughly three-quarters say the country is headed in the wrong direction. That figure is higher than it was in VoteCast surveys of voters in 2018 and 2020.

AP’s Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut report on this year’s survey of more than 90,000 voters, which offers a detailed portrait of the American electorate.

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THEY SAID IT

“And so far Election Day in Georgia has been, in fact, wonderfully, stupendously boring.”

— Gabriel Stirling, an official with the Georgia secretary of state’s office, on Twitter

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5:10 p.m.

With the first polls set to close in under an hour, AP’s Mike Catalini explains why the AP will be able to call some elections immediately.

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SNAPSHOT

If you were awake before the sun on election night, you might have spotted a rare sight in the sky — a blood moon. It gets its portentous name because the lunar surface appears reddish-orange during the eclipse.

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More than 130 measures are on state ballots this Tuesday. In rather meta fashion, voters in several states will weigh in on questions about how future elections will function, AP’s David A. Lieb reports. Other measures deal with abortion rights, marijuana legalization and taxation.

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Social media platforms can be full of useful information and misinformation, hearsay and rumors alike. AP’s David Klepper has a guide on how to interpret your social media feeds this Election Day.

Far-right message boards and social media platforms lit up Tuesday with misleading claims equating expected delays in counting the vote to election fraud.

SITE Intelligence Group, a firm that tracks disinformation, reported a sharp uptick in social media posts Monday and Tuesday claiming Democrats would use delays in vote tallying to rig elections through the country. Some of the posts originated on websites popular with supporters of ex-President Donald Trump as well as adherents of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trump and many influential figures on the far right used the length of time it took to count votes in 2020 to spin baseless conspiracy theories about a rigged election. Those misleading claims have been blamed for decreasing trust in U.S. elections and have been recycled as a main misinformation narrative in 2022.

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1:30 p.m.

Whatever the outcome of today’s voting, the White House will stay bathed in bright light until 2 a.m. — largely to accommodate TV correspondents filing on-camera reports and other reporters trying to make their deadlines.

The floodlights are usually turned off around 10 p.m. every night, in part because they bleed into the executive residence where the president and first lady live.

U.S. Secret Service officers usually make a pass through the press briefing room each night, checking news organization offices to make sure all reporters have left the building so they can lock the doors to the workspace. But the rules are usually relaxed on major news nights, like midterm and presidential elections, and presidential inaugurations.

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THEY SAID IT

“I think we’re going to have a very big night and it’s going to be very exciting to watch.”

— former President Donald Trump

Trump predicted Republicans would have a “great night” as he voted in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday morning. He told reporters outside the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center that he had voted to reelect Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even as the two could soon become rivals if — as many expect — they both run for president in 2024.

Trump is planning an announcement in Florida next Tuesday, as AP’s Jill Colvin reports. Trump said Nov. 15 would “be a very exciting day for a lot of people.”

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SNAPSHOT

From Lewiston, Maine, to rainy Pacoima, California, AP photographers were there to capture the scene at voting locations across the U.S. Emotions were raw outside libraries, fitness centers, laundromats and fire stations as voters said inflation, abortion, crime and the future of democracy weighed heavily on their minds.

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11:20 a.m.

President Joe Biden was not expected to make any public appearances Tuesday as voters went to the polls.

Indeed, well before the lunch hour rolled in, the White House called a “lid.” It’s the lingo that means the president would spend the day in the executive mansion awaiting the results of vote counting that will decide political control of Congress and, with that, how the two years left in his term will play out.

Biden’s chief spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters that Biden would have a full schedule Tuesday, including prepping for an upcoming trip to international summits in North Africa and Asia and watching the election results come in.

“We expect the president will address the elections the day afterwards,” Jean-Pierre said.

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THEY SAID IT

“Everything we have achieved over the last 60 years is now up for a vote.”

— Courtland Cox, a veteran civil rights movement organizer, in a note he penned overnight shared with the AP by the NAACP

Cox urged voters in Georgia and elsewhere on Tuesday to vote to protect civil rights that he and others warned are at stake in the midterm elections. Cox, 82, who famously wrote the speech that the late Rep. John Lewis delivered at the March on Washington in 1963, likened Tuesday to a “battle for our freedom.”

“If you’re a woman, your right to choose is on the ballot,” Cox said. “If you’re African American, your right to vote is on the ballot. If you’re poor, your right to feed yourself is on the ballot. If you’re LGBTQ+, your right to love who you love is on the ballot. If you’re a senior citizen, your social security is on the ballot. And if you’re a young voter, your future is on the ballot.”

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If you’re the type to have your TV tuned to the news throughout Election Day, the jargon might get overwhelming. The AP’s Meg Kinnard offers a glossary of key election-related terms you might hear on your broadcast or read in AP copy. And if you’re curious about how the networks and cable news prepared for Tuesday, media reporter David Bauder has a look at their coverage plans.

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DID YOU KNOW?

How did the AP get the job of calling races? No one wanted to wait for weeks to find out who won elections, AP’s Meg Kinnard explains, but no centralized body to count votes existed. The AP began tallying votes with the 1848 election, creating an operation that has evolved into a network of thousands of stringers and vote center clerks who take feeds, scrape official state websites for data and electronically add up votes across the country.

Race calls are made before the results are official, but the AP declares a winner only when it’s certain that candidate can’t be caught. In 2020, the AP was 99.9% accurate in all its race calls and perfect in declaring winners in the presidential and congressional races in each state.

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Millions of people have already submitted their ballots, and millions more are heading to the polls Tuesday. For a deeper dive on what’s at play in these midterm elections, congressional reporter Mary Clare Jalonick has the details on what happens if the House flips, among other scenarios.

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6:15 a.m.

Polls are beginning to open for in-person voting — by 1 p.m. Eastern, voting locations will be open in all 50 states (Hawaii is five hours behind the East Coast). As fears of harassment of election officials and disruptions at polling places and tallying sites arise, election officials say they are prepared to handle potential issues. Voters should not be deterred, AP’s Christina A. Cassidy and Geoff Mulvihill report, and no major problems were reported during the early voting period.

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What are Americans voting on? What’s at stake? If you need a general primer on the 2022 midterm elections, AP’s Mike Catalini has you covered with a basic overview of what’s on the ballot, how counting works, how long this thing might take and what the possible outcomes might mean.

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12:01 a.m.

Election Day has dawned. With polls set to begin opening in a few hours across the country, you can find a guide of what to expect for each state at our Election Expectations 2022 hub.

It’s not a presidential year, but these are high-stakes elections nonetheless. AP’s chief political writer, Steve Peoples, highlights six key things to watch today. Among them: Will the expected red wave be a ripple or a tsunami? What effect will the Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade have? And what will we know before we go to bed tonight?

The answer to that last question is yet unclear. While there are some races the AP can call as soon as polls close, as Mike Catalini explains, other winners might take a lot longer to identify. Christina A. Cassidy takes a look at the factors that can delay results.

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

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