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When Are Congressional Elections Held?

Congressional or midterm elections are held every two years, halfway through the president's four-year term.

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The United States Congress is a national legislative body of the US federal government. It consists of two chambers—the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 535 members of Congress; 435 are seated in the House of Representatives and 100 serve in the Senate. Congressional elections are held with the purpose of determining who will represent the states in Congress. There are only two Senators for each state, however, the number of representatives in the House by state varies, as it depends on the state’s population. Members of the House of Representatives represent the various districts in the state as well, which is why bigger countries have more representatives.

The members of the House can only have terms of two years, while Senators can serve terms of six years; every two years, however, 1/3 (33-34) of the members of the Senate become eligible for reelection. Thus, congressional elections are also called midterm elections, as they occur every two years, in the middle of the presidential term. Furthermore, during midterm elections, 34 (36) states also elect their governors.

Congressional elections also determine which political party (Democratic or Republican) will hold the majority of the seats in the House of Representative and the Senate. The president’s party often loses the midterm elections. The next congressional elections will be held on November 3, 2020.