Original posting: 3 June 2009. Last update: 4 January 2013
At the beginning of the American Federal system, there was no regulation as to the actual dates on which the People of the several States of the Union were to elect their Members of Congress (meaning Representatives in Congress, since United States Senators were originally chosen by the legislatures of their respective States); indeed, there wasn't even any constitutional provision respecting just when the terms of office in each house of Congress were specifically to begin (and end)! In fact, the only specific provision in the entirety of the original text of the Federal Constitution respecting any dates related to the Congress of the United States was that which mandated Congress to assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day (Article I, Section 4, clause 2- since altered, of course, by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution).
The States of the American Union, therefore, were entirely free to use whatever dates they might wish as the time for electing their Congressmen every two years (and the colloquial term was, indeed, "Congressmen"- not only because, back in the late 18th through the 19th Century, Members of Congress were always men, but also because Representatives to the U.S. House were, as already noted, the only persons actually elected to Congress by the People directly). The States tended to use the dates of their own State and local elections for this purpose and- throughout the country- these dates ranged from the Spring (the more usual in New England, as these tended to coincide with annual Town Meeting in those States) through late Summer (which seems to have been most common in parts of the South and out into the what we would now call the upper Midwest) and on into the Fall, as is currently the case with Federal and State elections in November (although October seems to have been as common as November during the early 18th Century, with either of these Fall months being the more common in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions).
[Please note, however, that the foregoing synopsis of possible election times amongst the several States is merely the barest outline and that there, often as not, was at least one State in each region which used an election date that did not necessarily follow the time of year seemingly used by most of its sister States nearby for its elections; the indication of election times in the previous paragraph is merely to illustrate the larger point- that Election Day (and, by extension, Federal Election Day) varied throughout a given year during the earliest days of the Republic.]
It was also not all that uncommon for some States (particularly those holding their elections in the Spring) to actually elect their Congressmen in the odd-numbered, rather than the even-numbered, year-- in almost all cases, such elections being held after the term to which said Congressmen were being elected had already, technically, begun on 4 March! The reason States that did so could "get away with it" back then is that, even though a given Congress so began on March 4th, the annual convening of Congress usually not occurring until that first Monday in December of that same odd-numbered year allowed for plenty of time for Congressmen elected the previous, say, April or May- or even, perhaps, as late as August!- to get to the Nation's Capital by early December, even given the cruder transportation options of the time.
However, problems ensued if the President happened to call- or the Congress itself provided for- an Extra Session of Congress (beyond the usual alternating "long" and "short" sessions held annually beginning each December) not all that long after- or, in some cases, even before!- a State elected its Congressmen, in which case the State in question would not have any popularly elected representation at all during said Extra Session! (For example: in 1871, the 42d Congress met in just such an Extra Session from 4 March through 20 April; New Hampshire and Connecticut elected their Congressmen at the same time as their normal State/local Spring elections [in March and April, respectively] that year- again, these coinciding with Town Meeting in those venerable New England States- both of said Federal elections taking place after the Extra Session had already begun: meanwhile, California didn't hold its State elections- thus, did not even elect its own members of the 42d Congress- until the following September, missing out on the Extra Session entirely!)
Congress had already begun the process of regulating the dates of at least one kind of Federal election when- in time for the 1848 Presidential Election- it had adopted 5 Stat. 721 which mandated that Presidential Electors be "appointed" (in all but one State at the time, this "appointment" was via Popular Vote: thus, for all intents and purposes, a specific date for an election by the People- here, the Presidential Election- was being set by Federal statute for the very first time) on the nowadays-familiar Tuesday next after the first Monday in November. The main reason for this was to offset the already-evident effects of the brand new telegraph on said election results (if a State voted for President a few weeks before another prior to the advent of such long-distance instantaneous communication, the later State would- likely- not yet know the details of how the earlier State had already voted; with the telegraph, however, the returns from a national election were now in danger of being skewed unless all States in the Union voted for President on the very same day [of course, much later on, radio and television would have their own similar effects, given the difference in actual (GMT) poll closing times on that very same day between East Coast and West Coast jurisdictions: something that has yet to be effectively mitigated as of this typing (in mid-2009), by the way!]) but it also served to- albeit slowly- begin the push for standardization of election dates, even those of State and local elections, across the country.
Elections are rather expensive to hold- an unfunded, yet necessary, mandate that can well drain the public treasury- and, despite many differences between the conduct and procedure of Election Day a century and a half ago, as compared to nowadays (lack of a secret ballot, nothing approaching modern voting technology, even more questionable accounting and tabulation procedures than one finds today, etc.), the cost of holding elections was, even back then, a major factor in many States moving their own elections so as to have them coincide with the Presidential Election even before the Civil War. Most (but, to be sure, not all) States admitted to the Union after 1845 mandated the very same first Tuesday after the first Monday in November for their own elections in their first Constitutions; more interestingly, perhaps: almost all (but, again, not all) States that were to adopt newer Constitutions after 5 Stat. 721 had become law also changed their State election dates to that same first Tuesday after the first Monday in November!
Nonetheless, holdouts long remained, even among those States which elected their Congressmen in the even-numbered year immediately preceding that in which the Representatives so elected would officially begin their terms of office come the following 4 March (for instance, five States- Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Pennsylvania- elected their respective Members of the aforementioned 42nd Congress on the same day in October 1870; more to the point: two years earlier [that is: in 1868] four of these same five States- all except Iowa- held Congressional Elections on the same day in October as well and then, some three weeks later [come early November], voters from these same four States dutifully returned to the polls to cast their votes for Presidential Electors, as scheduled by 5 Stat. 721!).
The first attempt to statutorily set the date of Congressional Elections (meaning, again, popular elections to the U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Senators were, at the time, still chosen by State legislatures which retained full legislative power to arrange the time of said Senatorial elections so as to fit their own convenience) came about as part of the Act of Congress apportioning Congressmen- and, by extension, the Electoral Vote for President (since the number of Representatives in Congress from each State is that which causes the variations in numbers of Presidential Electors from State to State)- amongst the several States based on the most recent Census of the time, that of 1870. This act- 17 Stat. 28, adopted 2 February 1872- included, as its Section 3, a provision that the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every even-numbered year be set as the day for the election... of Representatives and Delegates to the Congress.
Here, for the first time, Congress was exercising its plenary power to at any time by Law make or alter regulations regarding [t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Representatives in Congress (granted Congress by Article I, Section 4, clause 1 of the Federal Constitution) and, if your own State's election date did not happen to coincide with that now mandated by Congress for electing your State's Congressmen, it was clearly expected to, as soon as practicable, so coincide! Thus, 1872 was the first Congressional Election (that for the 43rd Congress) with an election date statutorily set by Congress and, therefore, it is with the 1872 Federal Elections that the table below begins.
However, there was a potential problem looming within Section 3 of 17 Stat. 28 which was the following: Congress, in effect, forcing a State to amend its own Constitution was (and, truth be told, still is!) of, at best, dubious constitutionality within the American Federal system; in addition, the date of Congressional elections set in 17 Stat. 28 would- at least technically speaking- only apply to those Congresses in which the U.S. House seats were apportioned per the Census of 1870 (which would have been, had other statutes not later intervened, only the 43rd through the 47th Congresses), since 17 Stat. 28 was primarily- except for its Section 6- a Reapportionment Act. Therefore, in order to make the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November the permanent statutory date for holding Congressional elections (again, only for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as the United States Senate was still chosen by the State legislatures at the time), a new Act of Congress specific to setting just such a date would have been necessary in any event: this was to be 18 Stat. 400, adopted on 3 March 1875, the final legislative day of the very 43rd Congress that had been the very first Congress elected under the provisions of 17 Stat. 28.
At the same time, 18 Stat. 400 also took care of that rather dicey constitutional problem noted above and rooted within the very essence of American Federalism for it also included a provision that specifically exempted States in which the date of election did not coincide with this Tuesday next after the first Monday in November as a result of the date of a State's own elections being enshrined in its own Constitution (as opposed to being set by mere statute: a number of State Constitutions did not specifically mandate an Election Day but, rather, stated that members of its legislature were to be elected "at such times as shall be prescribed by law" [or similar language] and then simply required that all other elective officers- Executive and Judicial, as well as, often, county and/or township as well as State- be chosen on the same day the legislature was to be elected); in other words, where changing the date of a State's own elections to match the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, would necessitate the drafting and ratification of a State Constitutional Amendment, 18 Stat. 400 would now be inapplicable in such a State.
The next alteration of the Federally-mandated date for Congressional elections came about as a result of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution- through which United States Senators would, from now on, be directly elected by the People of the State to be so represented in the U.S. Senate- being declared to have been ratified on 8 April 1913. In order to implement this change as it might relate to Federal Election Day, Congress adopted 38 Stat. 384 (approved on 4 June 1914) which simply declared that United States Senators being regularly elected to full 6-year terms were to be elected on the same Tuesday next after the first Monday in November on which members of the U.S. House of Representatives were to be elected per 18 Stat. 400.
When the United States Code was authorized by Congress in 1926, 18 Stat. 400 became 2 USC 7 (meaning section 7 of Title 2 of the U.S. Code, this Title covering the subject of "Congress"), while 38 Stat. 384 was codified as 2 USC 1.
brackets [n] in the table below indicate that n seats in the given house of Congress were up for regular election at the time; by very definition, coincidental Special Elections are necessarily excluded from these totals.
|Congress elected||Date Members of Congress were, by statute, to be regularly elected||for Terms (Representatives for 2 years) beginning on|
|43rd||5 November 1872||4 March 1873 |
|44th||3 November 1874||4 March 1875 |
|45th||7 November 1876||4 March 1877 |
|46th||5 November 1878||4 March 1879 |
|47th||2 November 1880||4 March 1881 |
|48th||7 November 1882||4 March 1883 |
|49th||4 November 1884||4 March 1885 |
|50th||2 November 1886||4 March 1887 |
|51st||6 November 1888||4 March 1889 |
|52nd||4 November 1890||4 March 1891 |
|53rd||8 November 1892||4 March 1893 |
|54th||6 November 1894||4 March 1895 |
|55th||3 November 1896||4 March 1897 |
|56th||8 November 1898||4 March 1899 |
|57th||6 November 1900||4 March 1901 |
|58th||4 November 1902||4 March 1903 |
|59th||8 November 1904||4 March 1905 |
|60th||6 November 1906||4 March 1907 |
|61st||3 November 1908||4 March 1909 |
|62nd||8 November 1910||4 March 1911 |
|63rd||5 November 1912||4 March 1913 ||U.S. Senators regularly elected (for 6 year terms)|
|64th||3 November 1914||4 March 1915 ||Class 3 |
|65th||7 November 1916||4 March 1917 ||Class 1 |
|66th||5 November 1918||4 March 1919 ||Class 2 |
|67th||2 November 1920||4 March 1921 ||Class 3 |
|68th||7 November 1922||4 March 1923 ||Class 1 |
|69th||4 November 1924||4 March 1925 ||Class 2 |
|70th||2 November 1926||4 March 1927 ||Class 3 |
|71st||6 November 1928||4 March 1929 ||Class 1 |
|72nd||4 November 1930||4 March 1931 ||Class 2 |
|73rd||8 November 1932||4 March 1933 ||Class 3 |
|74th||6 November 1934||3 January 1935 ||Class 1 |
|75th||3 November 1936||3 January 1937 ||Class 2 |
|76th||8 November 1938||3 January 1939 ||Class 3 |
|77th||5 November 1940||3 January 1941 ||Class 1 |
|78th||3 November 1942||3 January 1943 ||Class 2 |
|79th||7 November 1944||3 January 1945 ||Class 3 |
|80th||5 November 1946||3 January 1947 ||Class 1 |
|81st||2 November 1948||3 January 1949 ||Class 2 |
|82nd||7 November 1950||3 January 1951 ||Class 3 |
|83rd||4 November 1952||3 January 1953 ||Class 1 |
|84th||2 November 1954||3 January 1955 ||Class 2 |
|85th||6 November 1956||3 January 1957 ||Class 3 |
|86th||4 November 1958||3 January 1959 ||Class 1 |
|87th||8 November 1960||3 January 1961 ||Class 2 |
|88th||6 November 1962||3 January 1963 ||Class 3 |
|89th||3 November 1964||3 January 1965 ||Class 1 |
|90th||8 November 1966||3 January 1967 ||Class 2 |
|91st||5 November 1968||3 January 1969 ||Class 3 |
|92nd||3 November 1970||3 January 1971 ||Class 1 |
|93rd||7 November 1972||3 January 1973 ||Class 2 |
|94th||5 November 1974||3 January 1975 ||Class 3 |
|95th||2 November 1976||3 January 1977 ||Class 1 |
|96th||7 November 1978||3 January 1979 ||Class 2 |
|97th||4 November 1980||3 January 1981 ||Class 3 |
|98th||2 November 1982||3 January 1983 ||Class 1 |
|99th||6 November 1984||3 January 1985 ||Class 2 |
|100th||4 November 1986||3 January 1987 ||Class 3 |
|101st||8 November 1988||3 January 1989 ||Class 1 |
|102nd||6 November 1990||3 January 1991 ||Class 2 |
|103rd||3 November 1992||3 January 1993 ||Class 3 |
|104th||8 November 1994||3 January 1995 ||Class 1 |
|105th||5 November 1996||3 January 1997 ||Class 2 |
|106th||3 November 1998||3 January 1999 ||Class 3 |
|107th||7 November 2000||3 January 2001 ||Class 1 |
|108th||5 November 2002||3 January 2003 ||Class 2 |
|109th||2 November 2004||3 January 2005 ||Class 3 |
|110th||7 November 2006||3 January 2007 ||Class 1 |
|111th||4 November 2008||3 January 2009 ||Class 2 |
|112th||2 November 2010||3 January 2011 ||Class 3 |
|113th||6 November 2012||3 January 2013 ||Class 1 |
|114th||4 November 2014||3 January 2015 ||Class 2 |
|Congress elected||Date Members of Congress were, by statute, to be regularly elected||for Terms (Representatives for 2 years) beginning on||U.S. Senators regularly elected (for 6 year terms)|
data in italics in the table above indicate the next Federal Election, yet to be held: dates and other related information thereto are as currently scheduled.
May a State ever again regularly elect, by law,
its U.S. Senators and Representatives
in Congress on a date other than Federal Election Day
(the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November)?
Odd-numbered year regular Congressional elections held after the original adoption of 17 Stat. 28 in 1872
Several States- claiming the exemption provided for in 18 Stat. 400 as regarded election dates mandated by a State's own Constitution which differed from that of Federal Election Day (the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November)- continued to hold their regular Congressional elections in odd-numbered years (almost always after the Congress to which persons were being elected in said elections had already begun its 2-year term on 4 March!). These States are noted below:
CALIFORNIA: California had an alternating Congressional election date: in Presidential Election years, its Congressional election coincided with the date of "appointing" Presidential Electors by Popular Vote- the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November of what was, after all, an even-numbered year; however, as regarded the Congress elected in what we would term the Midterm Elections, California would delay its Congressional elections until its State elections (mandated by its own Constitution, as amended, of the time) which were scheduled for the first Wednesday in September of odd-numbered years. Thus, CALIFORNIA regularly elected its entire delegation of Congressmen on 1 September 1875 and 3 September 1879 (to the 44th and 46th Congresses, respectively).
This 1879 Congressional Election in California, as things turned out, was to be the very last time a State of the Union would hold a regular, full 2-year term, election (that is, a General Election, as opposed to a Special Election to fill a vacancy) for U.S. House of Representatives in an odd-numbered year. Earlier that very same year , CALIFORNIA had already adopted a new State Constitution which would not take effect until 1880 but which also provided for State elections in even-numbered years on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November (therefore, from 1880 on, all Federal General [again, as opposed to Special] Elections in California- as well as all regular [again, not including special elections or the later recall] State elections in California- would coincide with Election Day as defined by Congress and specified in the table above).
CONNECTICUT: CONNECTICUT continued to hold its Congressional elections on the same day as its State elections- the first Monday in April- through 1875. Thus, CONNECTICUT regularly elected its entire delegation of Congressmen on 7 April 1873 and 5 April 1875 (to the 43rd and 44th Congresses, respectively). In October 1875, a State Constitutional Amendment was adopted moving the date of the State's own elections to the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, beginning in 1876 (therefore, from 1876 on, all Federal General [again, as opposed to Special] Elections in Connecticut- as well as all regular [again, not including special elections] State elections in Connecticut- would coincide with Election Day as defined by Congress and specified in the table above).
NEW HAMPSHIRE: NEW HAMPSHIRE continued to hold its Congressional elections on the same day as its State elections- the second Tuesday in March- these, in turn, having been scheduled so as to coincide with Town Meeting Day statewide. Thus, NEW HAMPSHIRE regularly elected its entire delegation of Congressmen on 11 March 1873, 9 March 1875 and 13 March 1877 (to the 43rd, 44th and 45th Congresses, respectively).
In December 1876, NEW HAMPSHIRE held a Constitutional Convention during which proposed Amendments to the State Constitution were considered; one of these proposals- moving the State's own elections to the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November (although Town Meeting Day itself would not be changed)- was approved by the Convention and submitted to the Town Meetings held throughout the State on that aforementioned 13 March 1877, whereby it was approved by the People of the Granite State (therefore, from 1878 on, all Federal General [again, as opposed to Special] Elections in New Hampshire- as well as all regular [again, not including special elections] State elections in New Hampshire- would coincide with Election Day as defined by Congress and specified in the table above).
Even-numbered year regular Congressional elections held after the original adoption of 17 Stat. 28 in 1872
Even after the disappearance of the odd-numbered year regular Congressional election, there were still those States- also claiming the exemption provided for in 18 Stat. 400 as regarded election dates mandated by a State's own Constitution which differed from that of Federal Election Day- which continued to hold their regular Congressional elections on dates other than the Federal Election Day mandated by 18 Stat. 400 become 2 USC 7 (though this, too, would become less common as time went on). Such States are noted below:
LOUISIANA: LOUISIANA's State elections had long not conformed- and, to this day, still do not conform- to the date set by Congress for all Federal elections in 2 USC 7 (applied, by extension, to the U.S. Senate in 2 USC 1) but, despite this, LOUISIANA elected its Representatives in Congress and United States Senators on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November and, thus, was compliant with the aforementioned Federal statutes through the 1976 Federal Elections.
In 1975. LOUISIANA adopted an election code that included a so-called "Open Primary" system in which all candidates for elective office would run "all-up" (that is, against each other regardless of Party affiliation): where a candidate in this "Open Primary" received a majority of the vote [1 vote beyond 50% of the total votes cast], that candidate was declared elected to the office; where no candidate in the "Open Primary" received such a majority, the top two candidates- regardless of Party affiliation (thus, two candidates from the same Party might end up running against one another)- would proceed to the "General Election" (which, in reality, was a so-called "second ballot" or "runoff" election), with the winner of this second election being declared elected.
In its original form, this "Open Primary" only applied to State and local elections in LOUISIANA but, in 1976, the election code was amended so as to apply this "Open Primary" system to Federal elections (that is, elections to both houses of Congress), beginning with the 1978 Midterm Elections. This Federal "Open Primary" (so called because it would not at all coincide with elections for State office) was to be held on the third Saturday in September immediately preceding Federal Election Day (unless this date might conflict with a recognized major religious observance in so-called "Judeo-Christian" tradition [as would happen in both 1980 and 1982: in 1980, the Federal "Open Primary" conflicted with the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur while, in 1982, the Jewish holy day of Rosh ha-Shanah fell on the appointed date for the Federal "Open Primary"], in which case the Federal "Open Primary" would be held exactly one week earlier). Meanwhile, the "General Election"/"runoff" would be scheduled for Federal Election Day itself (thus, the Louisiana election code attempted to provide at least some compliance with the requirements of 2 USC 1 & 7 since, while it was possible to elect Congressmen and Senators on "Open Primary" day. it was also possible that these might not be elected until the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in any event).
In 1982, the date of the Federal "Open Primary" was moved back to the first Saturday in October (with the very same restriction as regarded a conflict with a Jewish or Christian religious holiday, such conflict- again- necessitating the "Open Primary" being held on the Saturday the week before the normally scheduled date or, if a conflict was still found, back- when so necessary- one week further still [thus, in 1984, Yom Kippur, again, fell on the otherwise appointed day and, in 1986, the Federal "Open Primary" again conflicted with Rosh ha-Shanah; in 1996, the date scheduled for the Federal "Open Primary" happened to be the last day of the Jewish festival of Sukot (the "Festival of Tabernacles") which, being an eight day-long holiday, meant that one week earlier would be the first day of the same festival: thus, in that year, the Federal "Open Primary" had to be held two weeks before its otherwise appointed date).
By 1996, however, suit was brought in Federal court on grounds that applying the LOUISIANA Federal "Open Primary" system to the State's Congressional elections in the manner in which it was being scheduled was in direct violation of 2 USC 7 & 1 (since at least some Congressmen [and, perhaps, a U.S. Senator up for election the same year] could be elected, in any given election utilizing that schedule, before the statutorily-mandated Federal Election Day of the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November), conflicting with the clear intent of Congress that all regular, full-term Congressional elections be held on the very same day.
The Federal courts agreed with the plaintiffs (in the case that would end up in the United States Supreme Court as Foster v. Love [522 U.S. 67 (1997)]), after which LOUISIANA changed its Federal "Open Primary" so that the "Open Primary" would take place on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, with the "runoff" sometime thereafter beginning with the 1998 Midterm Elections. (Therefore, LOUISIANA's Federal election schedule has been, once again, compliant with 2 USC 7 and 2 USC 1 since 1998).
The dates of the Federal "Open Primary" in LOUISIANA, differing from the dates of Federal Election Day (which, instead, coincided with the date appointed for the ensuing "runoff"), are given in the following table:
|Congress elected||Date of the Federal "Open Primary" in LOUISIANA|
|96th||16 September 1978|
|97th||13 September 1980|
|98th||11 September 1982|
|99th||29 September 1984|
|100th||27 September 1986|
|101st||1 October 1988|
|102nd||6 October 1990|
|103rd||3 October 1992|
|104th||1 October 1994|
|105th||21 September 1996|
MAINE: MAINE continued to hold its Congressional Elections on the same day as its State elections- the second Monday in September (as mandated, at the time, by Article II, Section 4 of its own State Constitution)- through 1958. In 1957, a State Constitutional Amendment was adopted moving the date of the State's own elections to the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, beginning in 1960 (therefore, from 1960 on, all Federal General [again, as opposed to Special] Elections in Maine- as well as all regular [again, not including special elections] State elections in Maine- would coincide with Election Day as defined by Congress and specified in the main table above).
The dates of Congressional elections (including elections for the United States Senate once the 17th Amendment was in force by 1914) in MAINE, differing from the dates of Federal Election Day, are given in the following table:
|Congress elected||Date Members of said Congress were regularly elected in MAINE|
|43rd||9 September 1872|
|44th||14 September 1874|
|45th||11 September 1876|
|46th||9 September 1878|
|47th||13 September 1880|
|48th||11 September 1882|
|49th||8 September 1884|
|50th||13 September 1886|
|51st||10 September 1888|
|52nd||8 September 1890|
|53rd||12 September 1892|
|54th||10 September 1894|
|55th||14 September 1896|
|56th||12 September 1898|
|57th||10 September 1900|
|58th||8 September 1902|
|59th||12 September 1904|
|60th||10 September 1906|
|61st||14 September 1908|
|62nd||12 September 1910|
|63rd||9 September 1912|
|64th||14 September 1914|
|65th||11 September 1916|
|66th||9 September 1918|
|67th||13 September 1920|
|68th||11 September 1922|
|69th||8 September 1924|
|70th||13 September 1926|
|71st||10 September 1928|
|72nd||8 September 1930|
|73rd||12 September 1932|
|74th||10 September 1934|
|75th||14 September 1936|
|76th||12 September 1938|
|77th||9 September 1940|
|78th||14 September 1942|
|79th||11 September 1944|
|80th||9 September 1946|
|81st||13 September 1948|
|82nd||11 September 1950|
|83rd||8 September 1952|
|84th||13 September 1954|
|85th||10 September 1956|
|86th||8 September 1958|
Other, special, cases in which the statutory Federal Election Day was not utilized for Congressional elections
ALASKA: In preparation for being proclaimed a State of the Union by President Eisenhower (which was done on 3 January 1959), Alaska held elections for- among other offices- both of its United States Senators and the one Representative in Congress at Large to which it would be entitled at the beginning of its Statehood, said elections being held on 25 November 1958, three weeks after the date appointed for this purpose under normal circumstances per 2 USC 7 (&1).
The election for Representative was for the full two-year term beginning 3 January 1959, thus this seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for ALASKA is counted as the 436th seat in that body in the main table above. However, the elections for both U.S. Senate seat were held for unspecified terms, as each Senator from ALASKA so elected would, once seated in that body, be drawing lots to determine which two out of the three possible terms- 2 years, 4 years or the full 6 years- each would be serving (please see the page re: Senate "Electoral Classes"- in particular: footnote (d) to TABLE II- for further explanation).
As things turned out, the two new Senators from ALASKA each drew so-called "short terms" (one for 2 years [which happened to be 'Class 2'], the other for 4 years [which happened to be 'Class 3'])- thus, neither had been elected to a full 6-year term: therefore, neither U.S. Senator from ALASKA elected in 1958 is counted amongst the 32 'Class 1' Senators elected at the same time as the 86th Congress in the main table above.
This page is a "work in progress" and further research is ongoing in order to add to- as well as, where necessary, revise- the information provided above.