For many new 18 year-olds at Maclay, the ability to get their voices heard through a voting experience came true during the midterm elections that took place on Tuesday Nov. 8. As always, elections have a huge impact both locally and nationally, but this year’s elections were particularly suspenseful. States, such as Arizona, Nevada and Alaska have yet to complete counting their votes. In addition, the Georgia Senate race had no clear winner, so there will be a runoff election on Dec. 6. The uncounted ballots and the runoff election have left people in the dark about who will be representing their states and which party has the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The key races during this midterm election in Florida were for Senator, Governor and Attorney General and locally in Leon County, the most watched race was for Mayor. 

“Go and vote,” history teacher Timothy Fitzpatrick said. “I talked a few seniors into voting for the first time and I was very proud of them for doing their civic duty.”

Throughout this election, Republicans and Democrats are ultimately fighting for a majority in both the House and Senate. The Democrats picked up a Senate seat with the win by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, so the Senate currently has 48 Republicans and 48 Democrats. The Republicans flipped 16 seats in the House and currently have 211 seats, while the Democrats have 193 seats. Because 218 seats are needed for a majority, neither party has reached even days after the election.  

“My biggest advice [about voting] would be not to vote based just on party lines,” history teacher Christine Piepmeier said. “I would encourage them [new voters] to research politician’s views and find the topics that are most important to them. If that politician does not have the same views on that big topic, then party lines shouldn’t be as important.”

In Florida, Senator Marco Rubio won for the Republicans with 57.69% of the votes and incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis beat Charlie Crist with 59.38% of the votes. Other notable races in Florida were for Attorney General where incumbent Ashley Moody won with 60.59% of votes and the incumbent, Jimmy Patronis, won with 59.48% of the votes for Chief Financial Officer. 

“It’s important people vote,” Piepmeier said. “Since we have a representative democracy/republic anot not a direct democracy, it is essential we vote so we can elect people who we think will advocate for us in the government. We can’t go vote on matter in the House or Senate ourselves, so voting allows us to elect people who we think best will do this for us.”

Finally, in Leon County there was a runoff election between incumbent Mayor John Dailey and Kristin Dozier. John Dailey ended up winning with a margin of a little less than 4,000 votes

“My favorite part [about voting] was that it was really cool to know that it actually mattered and counted towards what’s actually happening in the state,” first time voter Shane Croston said.