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The 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution Explained

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Table of Contents

What Is The Seventeenth Amendment?

The Seventeenth Amendment states that the United States Senate should be made up of two Senators out of each state. Each Senator should have one vote and serve six years after being elected by the people. The candidates should meet all electors’ qualifications that are required by State Legislatures. If there happen to be any vacancies in the Senate, then there shall be special elections issued by the executive authority, typically the Governor. The State Legislature can also permit the Governor to fill any vacancy before people vote.

Interpretation.

Under Article I, Section 3, the Legislatures elected two Senators from each state. On the other hand, in the Federal Union, the Senators were in charge of representing the States, and the members of the House represented local voters.

However, there were a significant number of subsequent elections that were scandalous. Another issue was political discord in State Legislatures. This led to Progressives deciding to let voters elect Senators in every state. The Seventeenth Amendment upholds the election of Senators by people’s votes.

Understanding The Background of The Seventeenth Amendment

Prior to the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution ratification, there was a lack of satisfaction with the process of electing Senators. This dissatisfaction ultimately leads to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment. Many people were ready to exercise the clause, and several people were convinced that Senators should be elected just like Representatives are. It had been discovered that there were a lot of faults involved in the previous selection process. There was enough evidence to prove that malpractices were occurring, and the method was no longer efficient.

Some of the faults that were linked to legislative selection include vacancies staying open for substantial periods due to deadlocks in the Legislatures. Another issue was corruption. There were groups with special interests and influential people who did not allow democracy to work. They bought the legislative seats. There also were electoral contests that were extended, which led to various consequences such as Legislators neglecting their other duties. However, many States had come up with arrangements that were designed to give voters control over choosing Senators. All of this was before the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified.

Amendments were made to the State laws to give voters the chance to appoint the one candidate they preferred for the Senatorial seat among the party candidates running for office. The nominations, on the other hand, were monitored. All of the nominations that were not officially executed were forwarded to the legislature for further action. The Legislatures were the ones in charge of choosing the candidate that would take the seat. They decided that based on the majority’s preference, the Legislatures’ action was primarily based on shared understanding. The Legislative were required not to be biased in determining the winner for the Senatorial seat. This was happening in two States and later approved by 1912. At least 29 states had adopted this method of voting for Senators before the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified. The Senators were nominated based on popularity.