Seventeenth Amendment

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

  • “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years” – The U.S. Senate is composed of two senators from each state (can be two Democrats, two Republicans, or one of both), and are elected by the people.  Every six years, these people come up for re-election.
  • “and each Senator shall have one vote” – When voting on a bill or a motion, each representative may only vote once.
  • “The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.” – Each of these electors have to pass the same litmus test of each state’s respective legislature.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

  • “When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies” – When any state-elected representative vacates their seat (retirement, death, voted out, etc…), their home state will find someone to take their place.
  • “Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.” – If the state’s constitution does not authorize temporary appointments, then an election will be held in the state to choose a new representative.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

  • The Senators are required to be chosen as directed by the constitution of the state that the departing senator was from.  (I.E. To keep state sovereignty intact and to respect state constitution, the amendment is worded such that until the state’s constitutional provisions are met, nothing is official)

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