How Often Are Congressmen Elected?

Congressional Election

Congressional Election

Photo by San Diego County Registrar of Voters

The daily work grind and family responsibilities have the potential to make the average United States citizen woefully uninformed about politics and elections. In particular, most Americans are unaware of the timeline for election schedules, including that of the country’s lawmakers, collectively referred to as Congress.

What is the Timeline for Congressional Elections?

Contrary to what some think, members of Congress are not elected once every four years in unison with the President of the United States.

The Truth About the Timing of Congressional Elections

Search the web for terms similar to “how often are congressmen elected?” and you’ll find some potentially confusing results. The straightforward answer to this question is that the lawmakers of the United States are elected once every two years or six years.

Congressional Elections Distinctions of Note

Congress, consisting of 100 lawmakers in the Senate and 435 members in the House of Representatives, has two distinct election cycles. Seats in the House of Representatives are voted on every two years in years that are even-numbered. Such elections that occur at the midpoint of a presidency are referred to as the midterm elections. Alternatively, seats in the Senate portion of the legislative branch are re-elected once every half dozen years.

Congress Member Term Lengths

The term lengths of members of Congress parallel their distinct election cycles. As an example, Senators in the United States Senate serve as lawmakers for six years. In contrast, members of the country’s House of Representatives serve two-year terms as lawmakers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are members of Congress up for reelection during a president’s term?

Indeed, elections for congressional House of Representatives seats occur two years into each president’s term in office and also at the culmination of the president’s four-year term.

What is the logic in holding frequent congressional elections?

The purpose of forcing members of Congress to run for reelection is to hold public officials accountable to their districts’ constituents. If members of Congress were permitted to serve terms that last a decade, several decades or a lifetime, they would be less inclined to propose and pass laws that benefit their constituencies.

Are there any nuances to the election of senators?

Indeed, there are. If there is not a presidential election, 33% of the Senate is up for reelection in years that are even-numbered.

Do senators and representatives do the same work?

No. Representatives serve the purpose of sponsoring bills. If those bills pass with a majority of the vote, they transition to the Senate for another vote, presenting an opportunity for passage into law.

Is everyone living in the United States allowed voting for Congressional candidates?

No. You must be 18 years of age to register to vote and cast a vote for a politician running for a Congressional seat. Furthermore, some states have restrictions on the voting rights of felons.

Bottom Line

Every voting-age individual living in the United States is encouraged to voice his or her political opinions at the ballot box. Cast your vote for members of Congress every two years and you will help shape public policy.


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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City and Vermont. He is a long time cartoonist for The Rutland Herald and is represented by Counterpoint Syndicate. He is a recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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