In most states, the big elections will come next year. But on Tuesday, voters in a few states will pick governors and legislators, some cities will elect mayors and a variety of major issues will be settled.
A look at some of the offices and issues at stake:
The race to succeed term-limited Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, features candidates who have taken contrasting positions in the national debates over gay marriage and Medicaid.
Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway opted not to appeal when a federal judge ordered Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriage, a year before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it nationwide. His gubernatorial rival, GOP businessman Matt Bevin, describes himself as a Christian conservative and defends Kim Davis, the county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Conway wants to continue with the expansion of the state Medicaid program made possible by President Obama's health care law. Bevin wants to repeal it.
In Tuesday's only other gubernatorial race, GOP Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has spent $2.7 million on his re-election bid, easily outdoing the $3,000 spent by Democratic nominee Robert Gray, a truck driver.
Just three states have general legislative elections Tuesday, though at least 10 others will hold special elections to fill vacant seats.
The biggest battle is for control of the Virginia Senate, where Republicans currently have a 21-19 advantage. Republicans are better positioned to maintain majorities in the Virginia House and in Mississippi's two chambers. Democrats are looking to hold onto their majority in the New Jersey Assembly.
More than 300 cities will hold mayoral elections, including the nation's fourth and fifth largest cities of Houston and Philadelphia. In Houston's nonpartisan election, seven candidates are seeking to succeed term-limited Mayor Annise Parker. In Philadelphia, where Democrats hold a 7-to-1 voter registration edge over Republicans, Democratic nominee Jim Kenney is the favorite to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Nutter.
Other large cities holding mayoral elections include San Francisco and Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, N.C.
In Salt Lake City, two-term incumbent Mayor Ralph Becker is facing a challenge from former state lawmaker Jackie Biskupski, who would become the city's first openly gay mayor if elected.
The battle over marijuana shifts to Ohio, where a ballot initiative would legalize the recreational use of pot by adults 21 and older and allow for medicinal use by others. A separate measure, referred to the ballot by legislators, seeks to nullify the marijuana proposal by adopting a ban on constitutional amendments that create an economic monopoly.
Houston voters will decide whether to grant nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people. The referendum on a city ordinance originally passed last year has drawn support from the White House and Apple Inc. Opponents include a coalition of conservative pastors who contend it would infringe on their religious beliefs against homosexuality.