It's a big day in American political life, as it's time for the polls to open and the midterm elections to get underway. There are a number of tight races in districts all across the country, and today's results will have deep-rooted implications for public policy for years to come. In addition to changing the complexion of Congress (with the Republican party almost certainly taking back control of the House of Representatives and possibly — though less likely — the Senate), the victors in today's races will end up dictating how President Obama governs over the next two years and what the presidential race might look like in 18 months.
The major Senate seats up for grabs are in Alaska, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia. Most of those races (with the exception of Connecticut, which seems likely to go to Democrat Richard Blumenthal over Republican and WWE executive Linda McMahon) are almost dead heats statistically and could truly be decided by only a handful of votes. Because of the size of the districts, most of the races for House of Representatives seats are even tighter, which is why it's important that you get out and make your opinion heard. If there is one thing that the 2008 election taught the country, it's that a swell of civic action can lead to actual tangible results.
Many of you will also be choosing governors today (37 states will cast votes for leaders) and those of you in California will have major pieces of policy on your ballot (including propositions to legalize marijuana and rearrange the state's congressional districts). No matter how you vote, just make sure you make an informed decision and go out of your way to serve your civic duty. If you need a little inspiration, just turn to the Flaming Lips, who will be the soundtrack to any candidate in a "Race for the Prize."