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2018 election viewer’s guide: Your cheat sheet for acing the midterms

After months of primaries, debates, positioning ads, attack ads, closing ads and the occasional federal indictment, the 2018 midterm elections will come to a close on Tuesday night — except for the races that will be decided by absentee ballots, go into recounts, or require a second-round runoff to determine a final winner. As the votes are counted, the immediate future of the country will be decided: Who will control Congress, and how will the policies they enact affect Americans? Will ballot initiatives legalize weed, bolster voting rights, eliminate gerrymandering and/or expand Medicaid? Can Democrats recover from years of losses at the state level, or will Republicans hold on to power in Capitol buildings across the nation?

What follows is a guide of races to watch as the night rolls on — hour-by-hour indicators of what might be happening in the House (where Democrats are projected to have a good chance of taking control), the Senate (which Republicans are projected to have an equally good chance of retaining) and at the state level. You’ll see this general theme play out a lot overnight: Vulnerable Senate Democrats trying to hold on to their seats, and dozens of House Republicans scrambling to escape a potential blue wave.

As in every election, bear in mind that the early returns in some races may be lopsided, depending on which areas count their ballots first. Unless you’re familiar with the precinct-level voting history of a particular district, don’t put too much weight on those early numbers. News organizations will call races when the outcome is statistically settled. Yahoo News will call races based on projections by the Associated Press. Read more

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2018 election viewer’s guide: Your cheat sheet for acing the midterms