Term lengths in U.S. Congressional Elections

Term Lengths in U.S. Congressional Elections

This post, by contributor Linda Anton, relates what she learned when she did some research on Senators’ overlapping term lengths in U.S. Congressional elections:

I have felt enormous frustration with the two United States senators from the great state of Georgia for a long time. At the beginning of 2017 when the new Republican controlled government was installed, I found it totally unacceptable that neither senator was willing to hold any town hall meetings until August 14, 2017. Then only one, Johnny Isakson, finally did hold a town hall at Kennesaw College. Senator David Perdue frequently holds fund raising campaigns around the state, but still has not had a single town hall. From time to time during the months from January through July of 2017, I began wondering how long it would be until I would have the opportunity to register my outrage by voting to replace these unresponsive senators. In case you were wondering too, here’s what I discovered about term lengths on the U.S. Senate Website after much searching:

Per article 1 section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Senate is made up of three classes of Senators, and all are elected to serve for a term of six years. Each individual class is made up of candidates elected at two year intervals. Senators in class 1 were elected to the 113th Congress. Their terms will expire in 2019, so their replacements will run for election in November of 2018. Senators in class 2 were elected in November of 2014. Their terms run from the beginning of the 114th Congress on January 6, 2015 to the end of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2021. Senators in class 3 were elected in November of 2016 to the 115th Congress. Their terms run from Jan 3, 2017 through January 3, 2023. So the result of these overlapping terms is that we have two senators for Georgia who will serve six year terms expiring on the date each one’s class took office. Senator Perdue is in class 2 with a term expiring in 2021, and Senator Isakson is in Senate class 3. His class will end its term in 2023.

Your representative in Congress is determined by the population of your state, tallied in the ten year census process. Currently, there are 435 Representatives in Congress, and they are up for reelection every two years. This year, in 2018, we will have an opportunity to change our Representative in Congress, but neither Georgia Senator is scheduled to run for reelection in 2018.

So, to summarize:

Class 1 Senators: 01/03/2013 – 01/03/2019

Class 2 Senators: 01/06/2015 – 01/03/2021 (David Perdue)

Class 3 Senators: 01/03/2017 – 01/03/2023 (Johnny Isakson)

If you found this post interesting, you might also enjoy 50 Reasons Why You Should Vote by Kathryn Bullington.

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