The nation's attention is focused largely on the presidential and Senate races, but more than 5,000 state legislative races are arguably as important, collectively, Sabrina Tavernise writes for The New York Times. For one thing, this is a census year. In most states, that means that whoever wins control of a state's legislature in this election will be in charge of "redrawing state and national electoral maps next year, an exercise that can give one political party a deep and enduring advantage in lawmaking for years."
After their electoral gains in 2010, Republicans used their power in statehouses to disproportionately empower rural voters in redistricting. Before legislatures redistrict, the census will determine how many seats in the U.S. House each state will get.
Tavernise notes that state legislatures will also decide critical issues relating to abortion, guns, police funding and accountability, schools, health care, and the pandemic.