Reality check: Midterms hinge on these voters

CNN's John Avlon says the past two midterm elections show that the balance of power could lie in the hands of independent voters.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 5:56 AM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 6:15 AM

No matter what happens today in the elections, remember that we're all still on the same team. And by all means, go out there and vote! Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Midterm elections

He's not on the ballot, but today's midterm elections are all about President Trump. He'll either be rewarded for overseeing a booming economy or punished for his policies and unconventional style. Either way, we've never seen midterms with this much hype. Independents may end up being Trump's political judge and jury. And these 10 races could offer early hints about how things may shake out. Check out the eight biggest questions this election could answer. Most importantly, here's a voting guide to help you figure out where to vote, poll opening and closing times and where to get results for your state. Here's what to do if you're turned away at the polls. And, of course, get the latest updates on CNN TV and CNN.com.

One more thing: Did you vote in the midterms (or will you today)? We'd like you to send us a pic of you (or you and the kids, or you and whomever) with your "I Voted" sticker for our roundup of "50 votes, 50 stickers and you." Please email it with your name, city -- and whatever else you'd like to add -- to: andrea.diaz@turner.com. Make your state's name the subject line.

2. Cameroon

Officials in Cameroon are desperately searching for 79 boys and girls kidnapped by armed men from a school. The men entered the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, in the country's Northwest region, overwhelmed a guard and forced him to take them to the sleeping children. The men tried to take the students away in a school bus, but the driver pretended there was something wrong with the vehicle, so the men took off with the children on foot. A school spokesman said the kidnappers might be English-speaking secessionists who want independence from Cameroon's largely French-influenced government.

3. USA Gymnastics

The US Olympic Committee has had enough. After watching USA Gymnastics struggle to recover from the sex abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar, the committee wants to pull USA Gymnastics' status as the sport's governing body. USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland has offered USA Gymnastics the option of surrendering its status voluntarily. USA Gymnastics said it was "evaluating the best path forward" but didn't indicate if it would challenge the USOC's actions.

4. Amazon

Amazon may be throwing the cities competing to be the home of its next headquarters a big ol' curve ball. Instead of picking one city to house HQ2, the tech behemoth reportedly is going to pick two. So, those 50,000 high-paying jobs promised with the $5 billion project would be split between two locations. The latest word on the street, as they say, is that northern Virginia, Dallas and New York City are still in the running to land HQ2, among 20 finalists. Amazon's reportedly doing the split to make sure it can recruit enough talent. The two winners will be announced by the end of the year, Amazon says.

5. Space

So, a long, cigar-shaped object zipped through our solar system last year. Scientists struggled to explain what it was. Asteroid? Comet? Now, some researchers at Harvard are offering a startling theory: alien space probe. Say what? In a new paper, they say the elongated dark-red object, which they call Oumuamua, might have an "artificial origin." The object is 10 times as long as it is wide and travels at 196,000 mph. "Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," the paper reads. If you're fearing an "Independence Day"-style invasion, calm down. Oumuamua left our solar system in January.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Lady luck

She won half that $687 million Powerball prize right after she bought a house. Guess she'll have a decent budget to do an extreme home makeover.

Gimme a (customized) break

Like Kit Kats? Then hop a flight to Japan to visit the KitKat Chocolatory, where you can trick out your fave chocolate treat with just about anything you want.

Good customers

When the doughnut shop owner puts the goodies out, his customers buy out his inventory in just hours so he can go take care of his sick wife.

What you really, really want

If all you really, really wanted was a Spice Girls reunion, today's your lucky day. The '90s hitmakers are going back on tour -- but without Posh Spice.

HAPPENING LATER

Binge-worthy

Want to catch up on "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" or "This Is Life with Lisa Ling"? Now's your chance: Starting today at 5 p.m. ET, select CNN Original Series will be available for free on CNNgo for a limited time.

TODAY'S NUMBER

57

That's how many miles a runaway train traveled across Australia before it was deliberately derailed. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

AND FINALLY

Teamwork makes the dream work

This crafty pair doesn't have to wait for anyone to bring them a bowl of water. (Click to view.)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 142311

Reported Deaths: 2472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin35484995
Ramsey14726372
Dakota10271139
Anoka9344155
Washington636273
Stearns625550
Scott360436
Olmsted340230
St. Louis325874
Wright273116
Clay252944
Nobles234318
Blue Earth21147
Carver18887
Sherburne183122
Kandiyohi18215
Rice170210
Mower154518
Winona133619
Chisago11562
Crow Wing114322
Benton103311
Lyon10306
Beltrami9618
Otter Tail9508
Waseca94510
Todd8967
Polk8364
Morrison8259
Steele8013
Itasca78817
Douglas7744
Nicollet77118
Freeborn7185
Le Sueur6646
Goodhue65111
Martin62618
Becker6214
McLeod6214
Isanti5995
Watonwan5824
Pine5770
Carlton5092
Chippewa4733
Mille Lacs44918
Hubbard4344
Cass4225
Wabasha4141
Dodge4130
Pipestone36617
Meeker3593
Rock3595
Brown3483
Roseau3300
Redwood29912
Yellow Medicine2986
Murray2973
Cottonwood2950
Fillmore2770
Renville27213
Sibley2663
Wadena2643
Faribault2520
Houston2381
Unassigned23853
Kanabec23710
Swift2252
Jackson2211
Pennington2181
Aitkin1982
Stevens1941
Lincoln1930
Koochiching1755
Pope1680
Big Stone1591
Marshall1511
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1454
Clearwater1381
Norman1340
Lake1330
Mahnomen1292
Grant1054
Red Lake822
Traverse590
Kittson530
Lake of the Woods441
Cook190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122218

Reported Deaths: 1691
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19732289
Woodbury743799
Linn6038133
Johnson602431
Black Hawk5974102
Dubuque550658
Scott487343
Story411118
Dallas357347
Pottawattamie337845
Sioux254417
Buena Vista230212
Marshall212236
Webster196015
Plymouth172831
Wapello158962
Clinton156228
Muscatine153958
Des Moines151611
Cerro Gordo150227
Crawford138714
Warren13137
Carroll120413
Jasper119734
Henry11245
Marion106811
Lee101312
Tama100538
Delaware82713
Dickinson7939
Wright7591
Boone7509
Mahaska73824
Bremer7199
Harrison69716
Washington69311
Jackson6853
Benton6482
Lyon5688
Clay5574
Louisa54415
Winnebago52119
Cedar5087
Winneshiek5079
Hardin5017
Jones5004
Kossuth4970
Clayton4923
Buchanan4875
Hamilton4825
Poweshiek47611
Floyd46211
Emmet45321
Iowa4429
Cass4233
Mills4233
Guthrie42015
Page4200
Cherokee4122
Sac4114
Butler4083
Fayette4064
Shelby4022
Allamakee3999
Franklin39518
Madison3743
Chickasaw3731
Hancock3676
Humboldt3593
Clarke3573
Grundy3406
Palo Alto3292
Calhoun3264
Osceola3020
Mitchell2961
Howard2879
Monroe27212
Union2645
Taylor2602
Jefferson2591
Appanoose2503
Monona2492
Pocahontas2442
Fremont2152
Lucas2136
Ida2122
Adair1971
Greene1930
Montgomery1907
Davis1884
Van Buren1882
Keokuk1731
Decatur1620
Audubon1601
Worth1470
Wayne1373
Ringgold992
Adams841
Unassigned60
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