The government needs the congress to function; therefore, the congress forms the life line of the government. Congress comprises the senate and the House of Representatives. Congress is a combination of these two law making institutions. However, the senate has more powers in contrast to the House of Representatives. The elections of congress are divided into the elections of members of House of Representatives and the elections of members of the senate. Congress is the sole body that has been mandated to maintain and protect the fundamental freedoms and rights of the people. Congress becomes the sole body that is mandated to make laws and protect the infringement of the existing laws.
Electing the congress is a significant part of the American political system. The elections of congress are often characterized by disagreeing parties on general policies, beliefs and political affiliations. It is, therefore, essential to understand the process of electing the congress. Congress comprising of the House of Representatives and the senators have varying elections. The member s of the House of Representatives is elected every two years while the senators are elected every six years.
The four hundred and thirty five members of the House of Representatives are mentioned and renamed every two years after the elections. Though a minority number of them are replaced, seldom significant change in the composition of the members occurs. Each and every congressman is elected by the electorate of a given region in which he represents. The congressman represents his constituents once finally elected. While, the senator represents a state which may include several congressional districts. In contrast to the congressman, a senator represents a fairly large region.
Allocation of representatives
The allocation of regions to be represented by the House of Representatives is determined on the basis of the regions demographic trends. The population density of an area will determine the number of representatives to be allocated in that region. Given the changes in the population density of a region the Constitution provides that, a census is conducted every ten years to determine the population density of the country. The purpose of the census is to ensure plans are put in place on how to distribute equally the available resources. This has also played a significant role in the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives. The constitution directs that the house seats should be redistributed after a census.
However, this has not been the case since the House of Representatives seats remains at four hundred and thirty five. After the conduct of a census, there should be visible redistribution of house seats with accordance to demographic changes. This has not been the case since the existing congress feels it is not bound by a previous congress whose decisions it ratified. The redistribution of political seats is mostly influenced by the regions political correctness and the degree of political mileage and clout the existing member has over the decision makers.
The state governors are bound to be notified of the redistribution of seats after a census has been conducted. Each governor is notified on the size of his delegation in congress. The law provides that each state which after such a redistribution remains with more than one representative, then the state is divided into as many congressional districts as there are representatives from that state. These districts are required to be of equal population density and be represented equitably in the state government. However, the sizes of the districts are not always equal due to disparity in political composition of the population. The politically correct regions tend to get bigger districts while their counterparts get smaller districts.
Any individual seeking a political office must first be nominated by the sponsoring party. The aspiring politician always seeks the blessing and support of the outgoing incumbent party member. The outgoing party member is a patron and endorses the incumbent politician to the fellow party members. In cases where there is more than one individual seeking the party’s nomination, a party election is called for where the winner of the party elections wields the nomination ticket of the said party. Once a candidate is approved by his party, then the party sponsors and supports him in the elections of the aspired seat.
Campaigns are significantly based issues affecting the local electorate. The region conducting the election will focus on the regional problems. Usually fingers are pointed, shifting blame from one person to the other. Congressional campaigns vary in magnitude depending on the seat being contested. When the house seat or a senate seat is being contested the local issues, are always at the forefront. All contestants launch a manifesto in which they proclaim their promises in the event of their elections. The person seeking re election usually indicates his actions while in office and his achievements. The opponents will always find a way to discredit the outgoing incumbent in an effort to score points with the electorate.
In instances, congressional committees are for the campaign and support of a given candidate. The parties in congress, each has its own congressional committee which comprises of a representative from each state. The state must have at least one member of the party in the house. The significant function of these committees is to find financial support for their candidate, facilitate public appearances and speakers on behalf of the candidate. The congressional committees seek for party support for the nominated candidate.
The election proper
The first Tuesday of the month of November in every election year marks the congressional election date. Presidential elections are filled with vigor and excitement in contrast to the midterm elections of congressmen. The presidential candidates are fewer, and voters familiarize with them easily. However, the midterm elections constitute a large number of candidates; therefore, it does not generate as much excitement as the presidential elections. Midterm elections are, however, significant since they pave the way for presidential elections. A party, which wins, significant number of congressional seats is most likely to win the presidential elections.
The outcomes of the elections are not always satisfactory to all parties involved. One party after the election may feel that the elections had one or other shortcoming and, therefore, present a petition challenging the election of the incumbent office holder. The petitioner may be a defeated a candidate or private citizen aggrieved by one aspect or another of the election. In many cases once elections are concluded a defeated candidate refuses to accept defeat leading the election results being petitioned. The chambers of congress have each its own body for dealing with election petitions. When congress is opening for the first time after an election, all members are requires to present their certificates before being sworn in.
In the event of the death of a member of congress, the seat occupied by the deceased member becomes vacant. The vacancy may also occur as a result of a member being expelled from his party or resignation of such a member. The filling of the senate seat and the House of Representatives seat do not take the same momentum. The senate seat may be easily and quickly filled since, in each state there are only two senators. While, in a state, there may be several members in the House of Representatives. In the event, of a vacancy in the House of Representatives the governor issues a writ for the electorate to elect another member of the House of Representatives.
Re election to congress.
A significant number of congress members have served more than one term. This is because of their political responsibility towards their electorate. The members who focus on the agendas that led to their elections and focus on their election’s platform are always re elected. Furthermore, those who are easily re elected are from safe zones where competition is weak or nonexistent. A member’s reelection is am assertion of the electorate’s faith in his ability to lead them and fight for their rights in congress. The members who go to congress to further their own ambitions and selfish interests are seldom re elected.
He is the politically active member of a congressional district. Congressmen are active members of the society like any other person. Their distinguishing characteristics are their general perspective of social political affairs which encompass all their constituents. Congress men are the people representatives in matters in which are sensitive to the security to their livelihoods and their future.
Congressmen’s attributes should be carefully vetted to ensure that such a person will not misuse his political power for selfish and personal gain. The election of the congress is a critical process and should be treated with the utmost care and diligence. Congress holds the country together, therefore; for the nation to prosper the men and women representing the nation’s interests should be above reproach and of a selfless character. After all, congress, defines who we are as a nation in the eyes of the whole world.