Election Day 2014 is here: America votes on the future of the Senate

  • Sen. Mitch Mcconnell and his wife Elaine Chao walk past photographers after voting in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2013.
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., right, with her grandson, AJ Bellabona, by her side, left, talks to a town clerk after voting at the Town Hall in Madbury, NH, on Nov. 4, 2014.
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., greets diners at Betsy’s Pancake House on election day in New Orleans, on Nov. 4, 2014
  • Youssef Elgharor, left, helps his girlfriend, Josefina Azenon cast her ballot at a polling place set up in the playground of a McDonald’s restaurant on Nov. 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waits in line to vote Nov. 4, 2014, in Mendham Township, N.J. 
  • Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown makes last minute campaign phone calls at the New Hampshire GOP Victory office on Nov. 4, 2014 in Dover, N.H.
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas waves to people entering a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Little Rock.
  • Georgia Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn talks with supporter Adam Magnus while out encouraging individuals to vote on Election Day on Nov. 4, 2014 in Decatur, Ga.
  • Yitzchok Hershowitz, left, signs in to vote with poll inspector Shahnaz Kadir, originally from Bangladesh, at a polling site, on Nov. 4, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. 
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott hugs a supporter before meeting with volunteers at a phone bank on election day, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Miami.
  • Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (C) casts her ballot on election day at the polling place in her hometown fire department on Nov. 4, 2014 in Red Oak, Iowa. 
  • Democrat challenger for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf rides an escalator after greeting commuters on election day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 4, 2014. 
  • Democratic Senate candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) casts her vote at Pleasant Green Baptist Church on Nov. 4, 2014 in Lexington, Ky.
  • Voters talk as they stand in line reviewing sample ballots at the Grove Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 4, 2014. 
  • Teeny Lee waves to a motorist to encourage them to vote for candidate Tara Hagerty for Family Court Judge in Louisville. Ky. on Nov 4, 2014.
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauds while exiting a voting booth after casting his vote in the 2014 general election on Nov. 4, 2014, in Newark, N.J.
  • A voter steps out of a booth after fulfilling his civic duty at a polling place inside the Delaware Art Museum, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Wilmington, Del.
  • Firefighter Cheyne Hansen takes a sign out of storage at a municipal garage while helping election officials scramble to set up a last-minute polling place, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Camden, Maine.
  • Virginia residents wait in line in the pre-dawn hours to vote in the 2014 U.S. midterm elections at a historic property called the Hunter House at Nottoway Park in Vienna, Va., on Nov. 4, 2014
  • Voters wait to enter a polling station to cast their ballots during the mid-term elections on Nov. 4, 2014 in Detroit, Mich.
  • The sun rises as Roger Winans leaves the old Hoggards Mill Courthouse, now a polling site for Baker County, after casting his ballot, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Newton, Ga.
  • Hands of poll workers are seen on a Bible as head precinct judge Deloris Reid-Smith reads the voters oath to poll workers before opening the polls at the Grove Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 4, 2014. 
  • The sun begins to rise behind the dome of the US Capitol that is covered in scafollding for repairs, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

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The most expensive midterm season in American history culminates with Election Day on Tuesday. People all across the country will be voting on every seat in the House, several governorships and most significantly — control of the U.S. Senate.

Democrats are facing a harsh electoral landscape. President Obama is mired in mediocre approval ratings, and multiple polls suggest that voters are leaning towards GOP candidates in most of the country’s most competitive races. Still, progressives are holding out hope that moderate Democrats like Michelle Nunn in Georgia and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky can pull off unlikely upsets to offset inevitable GOP gains.

Several races for both governor and U.S. senator are incredibly tight and the major parties’ turnout efforts are likely to make the biggest difference in the final results. Will controversial ballot initiatives drive voters to the polls? Can voter ID laws stifle the increasingly crucial black vote? Political pundits and junkies will be watching Tuesday to find out.

As voters flock to the polls across this nation, take a look at the unique moments and individuals who make our country’s democratic process so special. No matter what party comes out on top, it will likely be a long, exciting night — and then it will be full speed ahead to Election Day 2016.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography 

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