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Every state has exactly two senators to represent them in the US Senate.

The Seventeenth Amendment provides that vacancies in the Senate, however they arise, may be filled by special elections. A special election for a Senate seat need not be held immediately after the vacancy arises; instead, it is typically conducted at the same time as the next biennial congressional election. If a special election for one seat happens to coincide with a general election for the state's other seat, then the two elections are not combined, but are instead contested separately. A senator elected in a special election serves until the original six-year term expires, and not for a full term of his own. Furthermore, the Seventeenth Amendment provides that any state legislature may empower the Governor to temporarily fill vacancies. The interim appointee remains in office until the special election can be held. All states, with the sole exception of Arizona, have passed laws authorizing the Governor to make temporary appointments.

Article One of the Constitution stipulates that each state may elect two senators. The Constitution further stipulates that no constitutional amendment may deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without the consent of the state concerned. The District of Columbia and territories are not entitled to any representation. As there are presently 50 states, the Senate comprises 100 members. The senator from each state with the longer tenure is known as the "senior senator," and their counterpart as the "junior senator"; this convention, however, does not have any special significance.

Senators serve for terms of six years each; the terms are staggered so that approximately one-third of the Senate seats are up for election every two years. The staggering of the terms is arranged such that both seats from a given state are never contested in the same general election. Senate elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, Election Day, and coincide with elections for the House of Representatives. Each senator is elected by his state as a whole. Generally, the Republican and Democratic parties choose their candidates in primary elections, which are typically held several months before the general elections. Ballot access rules for independent and third party candidates vary from state to state. For the general election, almost all states use the first-past-the-post system, under which the candidate with a plurality of votes (not necessarily an absolute majority) wins. Exceptions include Georgia, Louisiana and Washington, which use runoff voting.

Once elected, a senator continues to serve until the expiry of his term, death, or resignation. Furthermore, the Constitution permits the Senate to expel any member; with a two-thirds majority vote required to do so. Fifteen members have been expelled in the history of the Senate; 14 of them were removed in 1861 and 1862 for supporting the Confederate secession, which led to the American Civil War. No senator has been expelled since; however, many have chosen to resign when faced with expulsion proceedings (most recently, Bob Packwood in 1995). The Senate has also passed several resolutions censuring members; censure requires only a simple majority and does not remove a senator from office.

Senators are entitled to prefix "The Honorable" to their names. The annual salary of each senator, as of 2005, is $162,100; the President pro tempore and party leaders receive larger amounts. Analysis of financial disclosure forms by CNN in June 2003 revealed that at least 40 of the then senators were millionaires. In general, senators are regarded as more important political figures than members of the House of Representatives because there are fewer of them, and because they serve for longer terms, represent larger constituencies (except for House at-large districts, which comprise entire states), sit on more committees, and have more staffers. The prestige commonly associated with the Senate is reflected by the background of presidents and presidential candidates; far more sitting senators have been nominees for the presidency than sitting representatives.

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โˆ™ 2012-07-21 16:24:27
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