USC 2.1 · Election of Senators and Representatives
This post is the latest of a series in which we share the verbatim text of the U.S. Code, a codification of all acts of the United States Congress.
Title 2 — The Congress
Chapter 1. Election of Senators and Representatives
§1 · Time for election of Senators
At the regular election held in any State next preceding the expiration of the term for which any Senator was elected to represent such State in Congress, at which election a Representative to Congress is regularly by law to be chosen, a United States Senator from said State shall be elected by the people thereof for the term commencing on the 3d day of January next thereafter.
June 4, 1914, ch. 103, §1, 38 Stat. 384; June 5, 1934, ch. 390, §3, 48 Stat. 879.
§1a · Election to be certified by governor
It shall be the duty of the executive of the State from which any Senator has been chosen to certify his election, under the seal of the State, to the President of the Senate of the United States.
§1b · Countersignature of certificate of election
The certificate mentioned in section 1a of this title shall be countersigned by the secretary of state of the State.
§2 · Omitted
§2a · Reapportionment of Representatives; time and manner; existing decennial census figures as basis; statement by President; duty of clerk
(a) On the first day, or within one week thereafter, of the first regular session of the Eighty-second Congress and of each fifth Congress thereafter, the President shall transmit to the Congress a statement showing the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed, as ascertained under the seventeenth and each subsequent decennial census of the population, and the number of Representatives to which each State would be entitled under an apportionment of the then existing number of Representatives by the method known as the method of equal proportions, no State to receive less than one Member.
(b) Each State shall be entitled, in the Eighty-third Congress and in each Congress thereafter until the taking effect of a reapportionment under this section or subsequent statute, to the number of Representatives shown in the statement required by subsection (a) of this section, no State to receive less than one Member. It shall be the duty of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, within fifteen calendar days after the receipt of such statement, to send to the executive of each State a certificate of the number of Representatives to which such State is entitled under this section. In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk, or of his absence or inability to discharge this duty, then such duty shall devolve upon the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives.
(c) Until a State is redistricted in the manner provided by the law thereof after any apportionment, the Representatives to which such State is entitled under such apportionment shall be elected in the following manner: (1) If there is no change in the number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State, and if any of them are elected from the State at large they shall continue to be so elected; (2) if there is an increase in the number of Representatives, such additional Representative or Representatives shall be elected from the State at large and the other Representatives from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; (3) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives but the number of districts in such State is equal to such decreased number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; (4) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives but the number of districts in such State is less than such number of Representatives, the number of Representatives by which such number of districts is exceeded shall be elected from the State at large and the other Representatives from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; or (5) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives and the number of districts in such State exceeds such decreased number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the State at large.
June 18, 1929, ch. 28, §22, 46 Stat. 26; Apr. 25, 1940, ch. 152, 54 Stat. 162; Nov. 15, 1941, ch. 470, §1, 55 Stat. 761; Pub. L. 104–186, title II, §201, Aug. 20, 1996, 110 Stat. 1724.
§2b · Number of Representatives from each State in 78th and subsequent Congresses
Each State shall be entitled, in the Seventy-eighth and in each Congress thereafter until the taking effect of a reapportionment under a subsequent statute or section 2a of this title, to the number of Representatives shown in the statement transmitted to the Congress on January 8, 1941, based upon the method known as the method of equal proportions, no State to receive less than one Member.
Nov. 15, 1941, ch. 470, §2(a), 55 Stat. 762.
§2c · Number of Congressional Districts; number of Representatives from each District
In each State entitled in the Ninety-first Congress or in any subsequent Congress thereafter to more than one Representative under an apportionment made pursuant to the provisions of section 2a(a) of this title, there shall be established by law a number of districts equal to the number of Representatives to which such State is so entitled, and Representatives shall be elected only from districts so established, no district to elect more than one Representative (except that a State which is entitled to more than one Representative and which has in all previous elections elected its Representatives at Large may elect its Representatives at Large to the Ninety-first Congress).
Pub. L. 90–196, Dec. 14, 1967, 81 Stat. 581.
§§3, 4 · Omitted
§5 · Nominations for Representatives at large
Candidates for Representative or Representatives to be elected at large in any State shall be nominated in the same manner as candidates for governor, unless otherwise provided by the laws of such State.
Aug. 8, 1911, ch. 5, §5, 37 Stat. 14.
§6 · Reduction of representation
Should any State deny or abridge the right of any of the male inhabitants thereof, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, to vote at any election named in the amendment to the Constitution, article 14, section 2, except for participation in the rebellion or other crime, the number of Representatives apportioned to such State shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall have to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
§7 · Time of election
The Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November, in every even numbered year, is established as the day for the election, in each of the States and Territories of the United States, of Representatives and Delegates to the Congress commencing on the 3d day of January next thereafter.
R.S. §25; Mar. 3, 1875, ch. 130, §6, 18 Stat. 400; June 5, 1934, ch. 390, §2, 48 Stat. 879.
§8 · Vacancies
(a) In general
Except as provided in subsection (b), the time for holding elections in any State, District, or Territory for a Representative or Delegate to fill a vacancy, whether such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the time prescribed by law, or by the death, resignation, or incapacity of a person elected, may be prescribed by the laws of the several States and Territories respectively.
(b) Special rules in extraordinary circumstances
(1) In general
In extraordinary circumstances, the executive authority of any State in which a vacancy exists in its representation in the House of Representatives shall issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy by special election.
(2) Timing of special election
A special election held under this subsection to fill a vacancy shall take place not later than 49 days after the Speaker of the House of Representatives announces that the vacancy exists, unless, during the 75-day period which begins on the date of the announcement of the vacancy —
(A) a regularly scheduled general election for the office involved is to be held; or
(B) another special election for the office involved is to be held, pursuant to a writ for a special election issued by the chief executive of the State prior to the date of the announcement of the vacancy.
(3) Nominations by parties
If a special election is to be held under this subsection, the determination of the candidates who will run in such election shall be made —
(A) by nominations made not later than 10 days after the Speaker announces that the vacancy exists by the political parties of the State that are authorized by State law to nominate candidates for the election; or
(B) by any other method the State considers appropriate, including holding primary elections, that will ensure that the State will hold the special election within the deadline required under paragraph (2).
(4) Extraordinary circumstances
(A) In general
In this subsection, “extraordinary circumstances” occur when the Speaker of the House of Representatives announces that vacancies in the representation from the States in the House exceed 100.
(B) Judicial review
If any action is brought for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge an announcement made under subparagraph (A), the following rules shall apply:
(i) Not later than 2 days after the announcement, the action shall be filed in the United States District Court having jurisdiction in the district of the Member of the House of Representatives whose seat has been announced to be vacant and shall be heard by a 3-judge court convened pursuant to section 2284 of title 28.
(ii) A copy of the complaint shall be delivered promptly to the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
(iii) A final decision in the action shall be made within 3 days of the filing of such action and shall not be reviewable.
(iv) The executive authority of the State that contains the district of the Member of the House of Representatives whose seat has been announced to be vacant shall have the right to intervene either in support of or opposition to the position of a party to the case regarding the announcement of such vacancy.
(5) Protecting ability of absent military and overseas voters to participate in special elections
(A) Deadline for transmittal of absentee ballots
In conducting a special election held under this subsection to fill a vacancy in its representation, the State shall ensure to the greatest extent practicable (including through the use of electronic means) that absentee ballots for the election are transmitted to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters (as such terms are defined in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [52 U.S.C. 20301 et seq.]) not later than 15 days after the Speaker of the House of Representatives announces that the vacancy exists.
(B) Period for ballot transit time
Notwithstanding the deadlines referred to in paragraphs (2) and (3), in the case of an individual who is an absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter (as such terms are defined in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act), a State shall accept and process any otherwise valid ballot or other election material from the voter so long as the ballot or other material is received by the appropriate State election official not later than 45 days after the State transmits the ballot or other material to the voter.
(6) Application to District of Columbia and territories
This subsection shall apply —
(A) to a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress in the same manner as it applies to a Member of the House of Representatives; and
(B) to the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands in the same manner as it applies to a State, except that a vacancy in the representation from any such jurisdiction in the House shall not be taken into account by the Speaker in determining whether vacancies in the representation from the States in the House exceed 100 for purposes of paragraph (4)(A).
(7) Rule of construction regarding Federal election laws
Nothing in this subsection may be construed to affect the application to special elections under this subsection of any Federal law governing the administration of elections for Federal office (including any law providing for the enforcement of any such law), including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.) [now 52 U.S.C. 10301 et seq.], as amended.
(B) The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ee et seq.) [now 52 U.S.C. 20101 et seq.], as amended.
(C) The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.) [now 52 U.S.C. 20301 et seq.], as amended.
(D) The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 1973gg et seq.) [now 52 U.S.C. 20501 et seq.], as amended.
(E) The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.), as amended.
(F) The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended.
(G) The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15301 et seq.) [now 52 U.S.C. 20901 et seq.], as amended.
R.S. §26; Pub. L. 109–55, title III, §301, Aug. 2, 2005, 119 Stat. 588.
§9 · Voting for Representatives
All votes for Representatives in Congress must be by written or printed ballot, or voting machine the use of which has been duly authorized by the State law; and all votes received or recorded contrary to this section shall be of no effect.
R.S. §27; Feb. 14, 1899, ch. 154, 30 Stat. 836.