Get Ready for the 2022 Midterm Elections

What’s the big deal about voting and elections? Here’s the scoop. The 2022 Midterm Elections will determine which party controls Congress, as well as state houses and governor offices across the country. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Britannica is breaking it all down to help kids understand what they are and why they’re so important.


Do you know?

1. When do midterm elections happen?

  • Every year
  • Once a decade
  • Half way through a president’s term
  • At the end of a president’s term

2. Why are the midterm elections so important?

  • Decide whether President Biden will stay in the Oval Office
  • Increase the power of third-party candidates
  • Determine the balance of power in Congress for the next two years
  • Change the composition of the Supreme Court

3. During the midterm elections states are voting for ________.

  • Seats in the House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate
  • State governor
  • all of the above

4. How many House and Senate seats will be up for grabs?

  • 435 House and 35 Senate seats
  • 200 House and 0 Senate seats
  • 35 House and 435 Senate seats
  • 435 House and o Senate seats

5. The Democrats currently hold the majority in which of the following offices of government?

  • House of Representatives
  • State legislatures
  • Senate
  • Governorships

Legislative Branch

Congress of the United States, the legislature of the United States of America, was established under the Constitution of 1789 and separated structurally from the executive and judicial branches of government. It consists of two houses: the Senate, in which each state, regardless of its size, is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives to which members are elected on the basis of population. Among the express powers of Congress as defined in the Constitution are the power to lay and collect taxes, borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce, coin money, declare war, raise and support armies, and make all laws necessary for the execution of its powers.

Although the two chambers of Congress are separate, for the most part, they have an equal role in the enactment of legislation, and there are several aspects of the business of Congress that the Senate and the House of Representatives share and that require common action. Congress must assemble at least once a year and must agree on the date for convening and adjourning. The date for convening was set in the Constitution as the first Monday in December; however, in the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution the date was changed to January 3. The date for adjournment is voted on by the House and the Senate.


The Senate, established under the U.S. Constitution in 1789, was conceived by the Founding Fathers as a check on the popularly elected House of Representatives. Thus each state, regardless of size or population, is equally represented. The Senate has 100 members, two for each state. Until 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified, senators were elected indirectly by state legislatures. Today they are directly elected by the people.

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives, established under the U.S. Constitution in 1789, was intended by the framers of the Constitution to reflect the popular will. Its members therefore are directly elected by the people. The House has 435 members, a number reached in 1912. The number of representatives from each state is proportional to the size of the state’s population.

Information sourced from Britannica School. Not a subscriber? Contact us to learn more. 

Political Parties

The United States has two major national political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Although the parties contest presidential elections every four years and have national party organizations, between elections they are often little more than loose alliances of state and local party organizations. Other parties have occasionally challenged the Democrats and Republicans. Since the Republican Party’s rise to major party status in the 1850s, however, minor parties have had only limited electoral success, generally restricted either to influencing the platforms of the major parties or to siphoning off enough votes from a major party to deprive that party of victory in a presidential election. 

Both the Democratic and Republican parties select their candidates for office through primary elections. Traditionally, individuals worked their way up through the party organization, belonging to a neighbourhood party club, helping to raise funds, getting out the vote, watching the polls, and gradually rising to become a candidate for local, state, and—depending on chance, talent, political expediency, and a host of other factors—higher office. Because American elections are now more heavily candidate-centred rather than party-centred and are less susceptible to control by party bosses, wealthy candidates have often been able to circumvent the traditional party organization to win their party’s nomination.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party is known for its support of ethnic minorities, organized labor, and progressive reform. The party favors government intervention in the economy and opposes government intervention in the private, noneconomic affairs of citizens.

Republican Party

The Republican Party traditionally has supported laissez-faire capitalism, which entails minimal government regulation of trade and industry. It also supports low taxes and conservative social policies.

Information sourced from Britannica School. Not a subscriber? Contact us to learn more. 

Voting and Elections

When a group of people vote, it’s called an election. In an election, the people who want a role as a government leader are called the candidates. In the United States, examples of elected officials that lead the country include the president, the vice president, senators and representatives. The elected leader of a state is the governor. The elected leader of a town or city is usually the mayor. Those are just a few of the roles that are chosen through elections.

Information sourced from Britannica Expedition: Learn!. Not a subscriber? Contact us to learn more. 


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(Noun) A ticket or piece of paper used to vote in an election 

(Noun) A person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that country

(Noun) A form of government in which people choose leaders by voting

(Noun) The act or process of choosing someone for a public office by voting

(Noun) A duty or task that you are required or expected to do

(Noun) Something that a person is or should be morally or legally allowed to have, get, or do

(Verb) To make an official choice for or against someone or something by casting a ballot, raising your hand, speaking your choice aloud, etc.


Try these classroom activities for further learning using the accompanying Britannica School, Britannica LaunchPacks, and Britannica ImageQuest resources. Not a subscriber? Contact us to learn more.

Voting in a Democracy

The United States is a democracy: What does that mean?

Is the right to vote essential to a democracy? Make a claim and back it up with reasons and evidence.

Suffrage Timeline

What are the requirements to be eligible to vote in the United States?

Have the requirements changed over the course of history?

Which groups of people, initially excluded, are now eligible?

What amendments were made to our Constitution?

Compare the Candidates

In every American election, there have been at least two sides to choose from. Pick an election from history and map out the differences and similarities between the candidates.

What did they stand for?

What did they believe?

What did they have in common?

Which one would you have voted for? Why?

Connect with us

All resource sourced Britannica’s K–12 online databases. Not a subscriber? Fill out the form to see what solutions are best for your school or district. 

Quiz Answers

1. Half way through a president’s term     

2. Determine the balance of power in Congress for the next two years.   

3. all of the above.   

4. 435 House and 35 Senate seats

5. House of Representatives AND Senate

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