By Carrie L., Director of Congressional and State Relations

2012 is a presidential election year if you couldn’t already tell from the myriad of ads streaming across your televisions, over your radios or filling your mailbox! So much is at stake in this election, and it is important that your voice is heard! Of course, the president is up for election as you and other voters determine who will lead our country and the executive branch of the government for the next four years. Also, 33 Senate seats are up for grabs, with 21 current Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 Independents up for reelection. Several Senators from each of these three groups are not running for office again, so there are open seats in several states. It is important for you to find out if there is a Senate race in your state and to find out who is running. There may be two brand new candidates, and you should always get to know each candidate’s position before going to the polls on November 6th.

In the much more volatile House, all 435 Representatives are up for election as they are every two years. Because these Members of Congress have smaller and more localized districts, their policies and positions may have even more impact on you and your family.

Adding another layer of complexity to this election cycle is redistricting. After each Census, the U.S. House Districts are redrawn, with some states gaining seats and others losing seats, depending on their population. When states add or lose seats, they must redraw the district boundaries. Some current Members of Congress will be running in newly drawn districts. It is important that you know which district you now live in, and who is running for that seat. Your current Representative may not be running again or may now be running for a different district no longer covering your address.

Control of both chambers of Congress and of the White House is at stake on November 6th. Make sure to be informed about the candidates and their stances on issues, especially those related to health care and Medicare, before you head to your polling place!