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A case study on mid term elections in USA

Everyone is talking about the possible outcome of Midterm elections in US, but have you pondered upon the fact that why midterm elections are even being conducted? Why only 35 out of 100 senate seats are up for elections this year, and what are other countries that conduct mid-term elections and why?

If you are curious about the answers, your search ends here. 

Are midterm elections different from regular elections? Are these elections only held in the US?  What are the other countries that have had mid-term elections? 

What are mid-term elections?

Mid-term elections are the elections which fall in the middle of the presidential term (which is of four years). So let us first dive into the US government structure to understand this further.

In the United States, Presidential Elections are held every four years. The last elections were in 2020 when Joe Biden was elected president. These elections are held nationwide, are popular, and witness excellent media attention. However, the Government is not only made by the president. It also comprises two other sections, the House of Representatives (more commonly called the House) and the senate. 

The House of Representatives holds 435 seats for which representatives are chosen for two years. These elections are held district-wise. The elected member should be at least 25 years old and a resident of the district and the state for a minimum of seven years.

For the senates, there are 100 seats for which the elections are held every six years. These elections are held state-wise, in which two senates are chosen from each state.  The elected candidate should be a state member and be at least 30 years old.

Now comes the exciting part. Not all the 100 senates are elected every six years simultaneously; instead, only one-third of the senates are chosen every two years.

Why is it essential for Mid-terms?

It is important here since, this time, the elections for the House of representatives and senators fall in the same year – 2022, Which is also the mid-term of the PPresident’sterm of 4 years. The poll results will decide on two-thirds of America’s Government, and if PPresidentloses the majority, it could hamper the forthcoming future of the PPresident’srule.

Now, let us know about the Common terms related to elections.

Mid-term elections and general elections:

General elections are the elections in which all the seats of the House of Parliament are up for election. Mid-term elections are similar to general elections. They are called mid-term elections because they fall in the middle of presidential tenure. The election process, the method, and the polling technique are all similar in comparison to general elections. The only difference is in the type of position elected members are chosen for.

Midterm elections and By-elections:

By-elections are the elections which are exclusively carried to fill a vacant seat in the Parliament or The House so that the Government do not suffer from the loss of the representative. For example, the death of a previous representative, health issues, criminal charges or resignation is a few reasons for loss of a representative, which might lead to a by-election.

Let us understand that any election that might fall in the middle of Presidential tenure is called a Mid-term election. 

Why not have elections in the same year?

The simple answer to the question is to avoid chaos. If presidential and general elections are all carried out in the same year, it would unnecessarily invite havoc and disorder. Presidential elections would overshadow other forms of elections. Also, presidential elections might influence the conduct of other elections. 

Now, let us look at the countries where mid-term elections have been held in the past:

Midterm elections and other countries:

The US is not the only country that conducts midterm elections regularly. The other nations that have presidential or semi-presidential systems are as follows:

Philippines:

In the Philippines, the midterm elections are held every three years. These are held for half of the 24 seats for the six-year term.

Liberia:

In Liberia, a Two-round system is followed. In a two-round system, the selection is made via voting for only one preferred candidate. In this system, the voting only goes to round two if any candidate does not get the majority of votes in round 1.

Apart from this, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Venezuela etc, are some other nations on the list.

There are other nations which have a Parliamentary system:

India:

With a parliamentary system, midterm elections are not ordinary in India. India has only witnessed Midterm elections five times, with the first elections being held in 1971 to the latest in 1998 for the seats of Lok Sabha. 

The other nations that make it to the list are Nepal, Pakistan etc.

What are the alternatives to Midterm elections:

Since they are transparent, midterm elections play a significant role in determining how the current president and Government are doing. In European and some Asian countries, the system of Parliament is followed, and the concept of midterm elections is not so prevalent. So, in such cases, how is the Government's progress measured? 

Under such circumstances, every country has a different set of methods established to measure the Government's progress over the ruling tenure. In such cases, regional, local or parliamentary elections become the method of determining government status outside its election year. 

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