“I thought we were going to do fine yesterday," "Shows what I know."”
“I never lost a midterm erection...not even once!”
Occurrence of Midterm Elections
Midterm elections occur every other even-numbered year. On the first Tuesday after the second Monday of November, voters go to polls to decide if they want to hold onto their member (of Congress), or if they would like to select a new member. Voting is always done alone in a dark booth so that each voter can closely examine the qualifications of each candidate in private.
The refractory period refers to the duration between midterm elections, and an election is typically not possible during this time period. The only exception to this is when a politician dies or leaves office soon after having a election, and a replacement is needed to fill the open seat. In such cases, the governor of the state will arrange to have a special election to satisfy the needs of the voters.
Competition in midterm elections can be quite stiff. It is sometimes difficult for a politician to maintain momentum for long periods in the days leading up to the election, and occasionally a candidate's popularity will peter out prematurely.
It can be a rather humiliating experience for a politician to lose a midterm election, since the loss of the election is easily visible to the public. This is why many politicians spend the time between elections pumping up support from their constituents.
Many candidates choose to stay at home the night, or sometimes even the week, before the election in order to cram for their election the next day. Often this studying proves to be ineffective because their parents belabor them about their ineffective study habits and how cramming has been proven to be ineffective. The candidate most often gets annoyed and locks him or herself in his or her room for the remainder of the time until the election.
Length of the Election
After the intense buildup of the campaign, the actual election lasts for 13 hours, from 7AM to 8PM. The climax of the election then occurs when the results are released to the public.
In certain cases, irregularities in the voting process can lead to a condition in which the results are delayed, creating a prolonged and painful wait for the final outcome. Such a situation occurred in 2002 midterm election in the 43rd Congressional District in Florida, where Republican candidate Rod Johnson challenged Democrat Dick Peterson for his seat in the House. When initial results showed that the Democrat Peterson had won 99% of the vote in a district that was overwhelming populated by members of the Ku Klux Klan, Johnson raised a challenge that eventually reached the Supreme Court.
During court proceedings, it was revealed that county Election Commissioner Herb "Fuzzy" Balles had left his glasses at home on election day and "just guessed" at the results. In a 5-3 vote (with Ruth Bader Ginsberg abstaining, claiming she wanted to have nothing to do with an election), the court declared Johnson the winner. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas stated that the evidence in favor of Johnson was "firm" and it would be "hard" to deny Johnson his right to grab Peterson's seat (in Congress).