Midterm election

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Apart from general elections and by-elections, midterm election refers to a type of election where the people can elect their representatives and other subnational officeholders (e.g. governor, members of local council) in the middle of the term of the executive. This is usually used to describe elections to a governmental body (generally a legislature) that are staggered so that the number of offices of that body would not be up for election at the same time. Only a fraction of a body seats are up for election while others are not until the terms of the next set of members are to expire. The legislators may have the same or longer fixed term of office as the executive, which facilitates an election midterm of the tenure of the higher office.


In the United States, the president and vice president are elected every four years in indirect (electoral college) presidential elections. The legislative bodies of the United States are the Senate (which serves six-year terms) and House of Representatives (two year-terms). The Senate has one third of its members up for election every two years while the House has all its membership up for election every two years. Regarding elections to the United States Congress, the point of reference is the president's term. There are three classes of United States senators; each election replaces one class, hence a "midterm election" appears as one third through the term of one class and two thirds through the other, while still midway the term of a president. In addition to federal legislative bodies, governors of 36 states and three territories are also up for election during a midterm election.

Meanwhile, although the Philippines and Liberia also conduct midterm elections, not all seats in the legislative bodies with elections are contested in a single cycle. This means the winners of such elections take office in their respective legislative bodies that conduct such elections midway through the term of half of the other members, hence for the members who were not up for election, the incoming members take office midway through their terms. This is especially the case in the Philippine Senate, when there are elections every three years to fill half of the 24 seats for a six-year term.

While the House of Councillors of Japan uses a staggered election, there are no fixed terms to compare with as the House of Representatives has a variable term, and the position of the emperor is hereditary. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister of Japan is elected by the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister usually would take the responsibilities following the House of Councillors election results, include resignation or cabinet reshuffle.

Conversely, in Cyprus, while the House of Representatives is elected for a fixed term of five years, and renewed entirely in each election, House elections are scheduled to be held in the middle of the President's own five-year term.

The results of such a midterm election serve as a measuring stick to the popularity of the incumbent executive, although in the United States the governing party has suffered election defeats for most of the time. In European countries where parliamentary systems of government are prevalent, midterms do not always exist in the strictest sense. In such a case, although local, regional, and European Parliamentary elections are often considered a proxy measuring stick for how popular the governing party is outside of a national parliamentary election year, they are not necessarily held at the exact midpoint between scheduled national parliamentary or presidential elections.

General elections

Presidential and semi-presidential systems

Parliamentary systems

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A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-elections . In most systems, a general election is a regularly scheduled election where both a head of government, and either "a class" or all members of a legislature are elected at the same time. Occasionally, dates for general elections may align with dates of elections within different administrative divisions, such as a local election.

A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members often have a different title. The terms congressman/congresswoman or deputy are equivalent terms used in other jurisdictions. The term parliamentarian is also sometimes used for members of parliament, but this may also be used to refer to unelected government officials with specific roles in a parliament and other expert advisers on parliamentary procedure such as the Senate Parliamentarian in the United States. The term is also used to the characteristic of performing the duties of a member of a legislature, for example: "The two party leaders often disagreed on issues, but both were excellent parliamentarians and cooperated to get many good things done."

A Member of Congress (MOC) is a person who has been appointed or elected and inducted into an official body called a congress, typically to represent a particular constituency in a legislature. The term member of parliament (MP) is an equivalent term in other, unaffiliated jurisdictions.

The 100 seats in the United States Senate are divided into three classes for the purpose of determining which seats will be up for election in any two-year cycle, with only one class being up for election at a time. With senators being elected to fixed terms of six years, the classes allow about a third of the seats to be up for election in any presidential or midterm election year instead of having all 100 be up for election at the same time every six years. The seats are also divided in such a way that any given state's two senators are in different classes so that each seat's term ends in different years. Class 1 and 2 consist of 33 seats each, while class 3 consists of 34 seats. Elections for class 1 seats took place in 2018, class 2 in 2020, and the elections for class 3 seats will be held in 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vermont General Assembly</span> Legislative branch of the state government of Vermont

The Vermont General Assembly is the legislative body of the state of Vermont, in the United States. The Legislature is formally known as the "General Assembly," but the style of "Legislature" is commonly used, including by the body itself. The General Assembly is a bicameral legislature, consisting of the 150-member Vermont House of Representatives and the 30-member Vermont Senate. Members of the House are elected by single and two-member districts. 58 districts choose one member, and 46 choose two, with the term of service being two years. The Senate includes 30 Senators, elected by eight single-member and nine multi-member districts with two or three members each. It is the only state legislative body in the United States in which a third-party has had continuous representation and been consecutively elected alongside Democrats and Republicans.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Florida Legislature</span> Legislative branch of the state government of Florida

The Florida Legislature is the legislature of the U.S. State of Florida. It is organized as a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article III, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the legislature and how it is to be constituted. The legislature is composed of 160 state legislators. The primary purpose of the legislature is to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. It meets in the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michigan Senate</span> Upper state chamber of Michigan

The Michigan Senate is the upper house of the Michigan Legislature. Along with the Michigan House of Representatives, it composes the state legislature, which has powers, roles and duties defined by Article IV of the Michigan Constitution, adopted in 1963. The primary purpose of the Legislature is to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Congress of Brazil</span> National legislature of Brazil

The National Congress of Brazil is the legislative body of Brazil's federal government. Unlike the state legislative assemblies and municipal chambers, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Congress meets annually in Brasília from 2 February to 22 December, with a mid-term break taking place between 17 July and 1 August.

A fixed-term election is an election that occurs on a set date, and cannot be changed by incumbent politicians other than through exceptional mechanisms if at all.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States midterm election</span> General elections in the United States that are held two years after the quadrennial elections

Midterm elections in the United States are the general elections that are held near the midpoint of a president's four-year term of office, on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Federal offices that are up for election during the midterms include all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, and 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Off-year election</span> U.S. election held when neither a presidential election nor a midterm election takes place

An off-year election is a general election in the United States which is held when neither a presidential election nor a midterm election takes place. Almost all "off-year" elections are held on odd-numbered years. At times, the term "off-year" may also be used to refer to midterm election years. "Off-cycle" can also refer any election that doesn't take place on November of an even-numbered year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Representatives of Liberia</span> Lower house of Liberian legislature

The House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the bicameral legislative branch of Liberia, and together with the Senate comprises the Legislature of Liberia. The number of seats is fixed by law at 73, with each county being apportioned a number of seats based on its percentage of the national population. House members represent single-member districts within the counties drawn up by the National Elections Commission and serve six-year terms. The House meets at the Capitol Building in Monrovia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Senate of Liberia</span> Upper house of Liberian legislature

The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislative branch of Liberia, and together with the House of Representatives comprises the Legislature of Liberia. Each of the fifteen counties are equally represented by two senators, elected to serve staggered nine-year terms. The Senate meets at the Capitol Building in Monrovia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elections in California</span> Overview of the procedure of elections in the U.S. state of California

Elections in California are held to fill various local, state and federal seats. In California, regular elections are held every even year ; however, some seats have terms of office that are longer than two years, so not every seat is on the ballot in every election. Special elections may be held to fill vacancies at other points in time. Recall elections can also be held. Additionally, statewide initiatives, legislative referrals and referendums may be on the ballot.

A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the officeholder must be subject to re-election. Some jurisdictions exercise term limits, setting a maximum number of terms an individual may hold in a particular office.

The government of Indiana is established and regulated by the Constitution of Indiana. The state-level government consists of three branches: the judicial branch, the legislative branch, and the executive branch. The three branches share power and jointly govern the state of Indiana. County and local governments are also constitutional bodies with limited authority to levy taxes, pass legislation, and create and maintain local public infrastructure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Kansas</span>

The government of the U.S. state of Kansas, established by the Kansas Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal Government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Through a system of separation of powers, or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, and also some authority to regulate the other two branches, so that all three branches can limit and balance the others' authority.

Staggered elections are elections where only some of the places in an elected body are up for election at the same time. For example, United States Senators have a six-year term, but they are not all elected at the same time. Rather, elections are held every two years for one-third of Senate seats.


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