Senatorial Elections Rules and Procedure

Senatorial Elections Rules and Procedure

Senate

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of Congress and is  the legislative arm of government together with the lower chamber composed of the United States House or Representatives,

Senate exists by virtue of Article One of the United States Constitution, which establishes the legislative branch of the Federal government. ‘The United States Congress is a bicameral legislature composed of a House of Representatives and the Senate’(Rieselbach2018). The composition of the Senate is such that the Senate is composed of Senators, who represent a single state, with each state being represented by two Senators. Membership to the senate is achieved through winning a popular election.

Qualification to run for Senate

Article 1 section 3 of the United States Constitution sets the minimum qualifications to run for the office of the Senate. These qualifications include; the constitution caps the minimum age to run for the senatorial seat  at 30 years, there is a further requirement that all applicants must have been citizens of the United States for the past 9 years or longer and that they must be inhabitants of the states they seek to represent at the time of election.

Filing for office

The State of Texas provides for dates and mechanisms for all candidates to file for office. The purpose for this requirement is to secure a place on the ballot for that election. All candidates seeking election to Senate enjoy a 30day period during which a candidate must file for office(Davidson 2018).

Filing for office places all candidates under an obligation to fill a statutory form designated for Senatorial candidates. In filling out, the application candidates are under a duty to exercise reasonable care because mistakes or incomplete information may result to automatic disqualification from the race.

In the case of Republican or Democrat candidates, the application is filled with the state party or the local county party. Independent candidates file applications with the Secretary of State and the Local County Judge. Upon filing for office, senatorial candidates must pay a filing fee of $1,250 or present petitions in-lieu of the filing fee.

Primary elections

The state of Texas requires that all political parties hold primary elections to decide which candidates will be the flag bearer of the party in the November general election ballot. If a candidate is unopposed, there is no requirement to have the primary election. Candidates belonging to major political parties (Democrats and Republicans) gain automatic placement on the states Primary ballot. Candidates from Minor Parties are chosen based on their party rules, while independent candidates nominate themselves. There is an additional requirement of submitting a petition signed by registered voters placed on independent candidates and those representing minority parties.

Primary Runoff

The State of Texas requires candidates to win primaries with a majority of the votes, failure to achieve this minimum threshold triggers primary runoff elections. In the primary runoff elections, the two top vote-getters go head to head in a run off that takes place six weeks after the primary.

Raising Money for Campaign

In an attempt to regulate campaign funding through the Texas Campaign finance regulation, and is the domain of the Texas Ethics Commision.  The provisions of this law demand that all candidates file a designation of a campaign treasurer with the Texas Ethics Commision or the Secretary of the governing body of the political subdivision in which the candidate will run. Upon fulfilling this requirement, candidates are eligible to raise and spend money on the campaign(Lane 2018). There is an additional requirement placed on candidates to file campaign finance reports on January 15th and July 15th each year. These deadlines are extremely serious, any violation because failure to file gives any citizen the locus standi to file a criminal complaint with the district attorney, or file a civil complaint with the Texas Ethics Commision for violations of the provisions of Title 15 of the Texas Election Code.

The state of Texas does not place any restriction on individual donors.

Elections

Under the previous dispensation, state legislatures were tasked with electing Senators. However, the practice has since changed, and today senatorial elections are subjected to popular elections.  The 17th amendment to the Constitution places the requirement that senators be elected by a direct vote. Based on this requirement, the winner of the elections is decided by the plurality rule; the candidate who receives the highest number of votes cast wins. Elections to the Senate are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

In Texas, if the tallying of votes results to a tie; it automatically triggers a recount. If the race is still tied, a special election is called no earlier than the 20th day or later than the 30th day after the final election. Candidates may choose to cast lots to resolve the tie or one candidating withdrawing from the race.

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