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Understanding Election and Qualifications

Election And Qualifications

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress. To be eligible for the House of Representatives, the individual must be at least twenty-five years of age, a citizen of the United States for at least seven years, and a resident of the State they intend to represent at the time of election. However, it is not required under the Constitution that the member live within their district.

In comparison to the requirements for eligibility of a senator, the age and citizenship standards or requirements are lower for representatives. The reasoning behind this is a result of the Framers of the Constitution (See Also: Constitutional Convention). The Fourteenth Amendment does provide for a disqualification clause, stating that any individual that has sworn the oath to remain loyal and to support the Constitution of the United States and has been found guilty of aiding enemies of the State or in rebellious acts against the country will be deemed disqualified from becoming a Representative. However, it is possible to overrule this statute if Congress can provide for its consent to deem an individual eligible for election through a two-thirds vote from both Houses.


Elections for candidates to the House of Representatives occur in every even-numbered year on Election Day. Election Day is typically held in the beginning days of the month of November. The candidates are elected from single-member districts by way of a single-winner voting system.

Candidates are typically nominated through primary elections, which are normally held in spring through late summer. The Republican and Democratic parties will typically choose their respective candidates through a unanimous vote, which are also held in spring or early summer. Those belonging to independent or third parties will have access to the ballot, but this is contingent on previous elections and also varies from State to State.

Each candidate, once elected, will serve for two years in Congress. The Resident Commissioner will serve for a total of four years. Members also can be subject to being expelled from the House of Representatives following a majority two-thirds vote.

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