An elderly African-American woman ambles out of a polling station, pushing a walking frame.

"I hope things change," she tells waiting reporters.

She is Murlin Hampton, originally from Jamaica, an 84-year-old retired nurse.


And she wants what every other American wants out of the 2018 Midterm elections — "change for the better".

But everyone's idea of change is a little different to the next, and whether it will be the key outcome of the election could take a lot longer than last night's election to be known.

Americans awoke to "Happy election day" greetings and social media accounts filling up with photographs of placards and badges with "I voted today".

At a student activist rally at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [UNLV], students were offered free rides to polling stations to ensure they voted.

Criminal justice and Afro-American studies student Jameelah Lewis, an organiser with Black Lives Matters UNLV and UNLV NAACP [National Association of the Advancement of Colored People], urged youth to vote.

"Vote for people who can't vote. Make sure your voice is heard," Lewis yelled to a passersby.

"Women fought for their right to vote. Black folks fought for their right to vote. So please make sure that you're coming out to vote. And while you're voting, make sure it's an educated vote," Lewis said.

Sydney Crawford, 84 (left), and JoAnn Loulan, 70, during a Democrat Party event in Washington. Photo / AP
Sydney Crawford, 84 (left), and JoAnn Loulan, 70, during a Democrat Party event in Washington. Photo / AP

Signs propped against stalls noted candidate names for Nevada and 20-year-old Austin Krehbiel held a placard and wore a pink T-shirt identifying as a "feminist".

He was most concerned about healthcare because his mother had expensive medical needs that without the Affordable Care Act would have her paying for prescriptions.

Krehbiel and a young man wearing a pink jumpsuit and high heels also urged their peers to vote.

In Nevada, a swing or "purple" state with a high Latino and migrant population, voters took to the polls in droves.

Clark County election volunteer Keith Hill has worked every election night for 12 years.

A former United States Air Force aircraft mechanic, Hill is now a data assessor for the county, but he was there for the overtime.

He was also excited to know who would win and whether change would come.

Hill said he wanted the "blue wave" but rather than a tsunami it had been more like "the tide coming in".

That the Democrats wouldn't take the Senate disappointed Hill greatly.

Retired nurse Murlin Hampton of Las Vegas. Photo / AP
Retired nurse Murlin Hampton of Las Vegas. Photo / AP

He voted early, on the first day possible, and he knew who he was "voting against". "I don't like the meanness.

"I just don't feel that those are our values being represented.

"Those were not the values I signed up to defend.

"It's kinda disheartening to see my country so mean to people in need. It kills me, I hate it. It ain't me and that ain't what I stand for."

Voters at the Cambridge Recreation Center polling station were waiting up to an hour to vote.

Babies and young children waited in line with their patient parents as slowly but methodically voters made their way through the process.

Two American Civil Liberties Union workers stationed at the far end of the hall observed the process.

And everywhere there was an American flag.

● Natalie Akoorie is in California and Nevada courtesy of the State Department Foreign Press Centre to report on the 2018 Midterm elections.