November tax moves to help you avoid tax turkeys
Tax reform a big factor for mid-term election voters

Election Day 2014: House, Senate, state tax initiatives at stake

Vote! Vote, vote, vote, vote. Vote!

I voted stickersThe hubby and I voted early. Sometimes we wait until Election Day. Either way, we always vote, as the collection of polling place stickers on our bedroom dresser mirror attests.

While I want my candidates and issues to win, I won't go as far as my friend Lisa, who says on social media, "Truth be told, I only want those of you who agree with me to vote. The rest of y'all, it's a big hassle and your one vote doesn't matter. Staying away is totally fine."

Staying away is not totally fine. So vote.

OK, enough with the nagging.

Here's some voting help.

If you still don't know where your polling place is, Vote411 has an online search tool that can offer direction.

Most polling places stay open until 7 p.m. If you're in line by then -- yes, I am optimistic that in this midterm election there will be lines of voters -- you'll get to vote.

We might see voter lines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin and Delaware. Pew Charitable Trusts research shows that those states had the highest voter turnout in the last midterm election.

State midterm election turnout 2010-1 Pew Charitable Trusts State midterm election turnout 2010-2 Pew Charitable Trusts

Here in Texas, midterm voting is middlin' at best. Despite Lone Star Staters finally getting two new choices for governor, turnout is likely to be low again this time, in part because of the state's tough new voter identification law.

Congressional control in the balance: Texas voters also are pretty "meh" this year because the Congressional seats here aren't competitive. You don't have to been a seer to know that Texas incumbents are going to keep their House and Senate jobs.

Polls regularly show that citizens say they don't like their current political leaders, but the women and men occupying those offices tend to be reelected. Go figure.

If you want to change that, go vote! If you live outside Texas, your vote could be important in determining whether the House will be more Republican than it is or if the Senate will flip to the GOP side.

A new legislative look on Capitol Hill could affect future prospects for tax reform.

Ballot initiatives also at stake: At the state and some local political levels, ballot initiatives also have stirred up a bit more voter enthusiasm.

In 11 states -- Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia -- voters will decide or advise lawmakers on tax matters.

The key tax votes to watch at the state level are in:

  • Georgia, where voters will decide whether to cap the state's individual income tax rate at 6 percent. Some see this as the beginning of the battle to do away with the Peach State's income tax altogether.
  • Tennessee, where an initiative would constitutionally prohibit state and local income or payroll taxes. They currently don't exist, but proponents of this measure won't to make sure they never happen. The Volunteer State's existing tax on some investment income won't be affected by the vote.
  • Illinois, where voters will have a say on whether a 3 percent surtax on millionaires is a good idea. This vote is advisory only. Even if the added tax on wealthy Prairie State residents passes public muster, any real tax must come from the legislature.

Also keep an eye on two soda tax ballot questions in Northern California cities. If either San Francisco or Berkeley voters OK the added levy on sugar-sweetened beverages, it would be a major blow to the beverage industry, which has been vigorously fighting the measures.

Whatever the issues and candidates in your part of the United States, vote! You'll have much more credibility when you complain about how things aren't going the way you want.

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