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Study Notes

Representatives (Role and Election)

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Representatives are Members of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress.

Role of the Representatives

Members of the House of Representatives are elected to represent their constituents at the US Capitol. As a result every member’s primary responsibility, above all else, is to their district. If a member doesn’t effectively represent their district or their constituents, then they run the risk of losing the next election.

As Representatives, they are to vote on legislation that appears before the House, serve on committees which interest them (or have a connection to their state/district). In addition to this primary law making responsibility, Representatives will also introduce legislation themselves, obtain federal money for their district and work with other Representatives to advance their beliefs in Congress.

Qualifications for Office

The US Constitution lays down several rules for those people seeking to become a Member of the House of Representatives. These are laid out in Article I, Section 2.

  1. Every representative must be at least 25 years old.
  2. Every representative must have been a citizen of the US for at least 7 years
  3. Every representative must live in the state that they represent

The Fourteenth Amendment allows Representatives to be disqualified if they rebel against or aid the enemies of the United States.

Elections & Terms

Elections to the House occur every two years, in those years that end with an even number (i.e. 2016, 2018, 2020). They are held on the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November. This will coincide with elections for Senators, and elections for US President.

All members are drawn from single member districts which use plurality voting systems, namely First Past the Post.

As a result of the two year intervals for elections, House members will serve a term of 2 years, which is renewable indefinitely.

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