Election of U.S. Senators

Each state has two senators who are elected to serve six-year terms. Every two years one third of the Senate is up for reelection. To be able to run in an election for the Senate one must be 30 years old by the time one takes the oath of office, a citizen of the U.S. for at least nine years, and a resident of the state from which one is elected. These qualifications were established in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution.

Most states have primary elections to decide which candidates will be on the November general election ballot. Some states parties hold conventions in conjunction with the primary. If a candidate is unopposed, there may not be a primary election. Those who represent a major political party are automatically placed on a state's primary ballot. Minor party candidates are chosen by their party's rules while independent candidates nominate themselves. Independent candidates and those representing minor parties must meet various state requirements to be placed on the general election ballot. An example of this would be to submit a petition with a certain number of registered voters. 

Before 1913 senators were chosen by their state legislatures. The Founding Fathers  believed that since the senators represented the state, the state legislature should elect them. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution now requires senators to be elected by a direct vote of those s/he will represent. Election winners are decided by the plurality rule. That is, the person who receives the highest number of votes wins. This may not necessarily be a majority of the votes. For example, in an election with three candidates, one candidate may receive only 38% of the vote, another 32%, and the third 30%. Although no candidate has received a majority of more than 50% of the votes, the candidate with 38% wins because s/he has the most votes (the plurality).

Source: Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus


Happy Halloween! Students love this fall holiday; take advantage of it! You'll find everything from costume patterns and printable Halloween masks to counting activities and vocabulary lessons.

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here! Help your students understand the process of our national elections (held on Tuesday, November 8), from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

October Calendar of Events
October is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Chemistry Week (10/16-22), Make a Difference Day (10/22), Black Tuesday (10/29/1929), and Halloween (10/31). Plus, celebrate Bullying Prevention Month, Computer Learning Month, Diversity Awareness Month, Family History Month, Fire Prevention Month, International Dinosaur Month, Learning Disabilities Month, and School Safety Month all October long!