US Senate Elections 2020: Polling Date, Number of Seats in Fray, Last Results and What’s at Stake – All You Need to Know

A total of 33 seats, categorised as "Class 2 seats", are being contested in this year’s Senate elections. In addition to them, two additional seats of Arizona and Georgia are also in the fray. The polling in Arizona was necessitated due to the death of Senator John McCain in 2018, and Georgia is witnessing an election due to the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson in 2019.

October 17, 2020

World

6 min

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Along with the all-important US Presidential elections 2020, the crucial polls for 35 seats of the Senate will also be held on November 3. The latter has drawn significant attention of political pundits as the Democrats find a solid chance to overturn the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber of Congress. Poll Tracker: Joe Biden Leading Donald Trump by 10 Points, Democrats Predicted to Win 334 Electoral College Votes.

US Senate Elections 2020: Polling Date, Number of Seats in Fray, Last Results and What’s at Stake – All You Need to Know

Considering the significance of Senate elections, the American electorate, as well as the global observers, should be versed with the polling date, number of seats in contest, results of last three polls and what’s at stake. Here’s all you need to know.

When is The Senate Elections and When Results Would be Declared?

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The Senate elections will be held on Tuesday, November 3. Apart from in-person voting, the electorate are also exercising the option of remote voting, through mail-in ballots. Due to the widespread use of mail ballots, the results could be delayed by even upto a week, claim experts.

The early trends on the end of voting day may show a lead for Republicans – whose core base is adamant on in-person voting, but the later results derived through accumulation of postal ballot votes may show a Democratic surge, opine pre-poll researchers.

How Many Seats Are Being Contested?

A total of 33 seats, categorised as “Class 2 seats”, are being contested in this year’s Senate elections. In addition to them, two additional seats of Arizona and Georgia are also in the fray. The polling in Arizona was necessitated due to the death of Senator John McCain in 2018, and Georgia is witnessing an election due to the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson in 2019. In all, 35 seats are being contested.

What Are ‘Class 2 Seats’ of The Senate That Are Being Contested?

The 100-member Upper Chamber of Congress is not reconstituted via a single phase election, as is the case in the House of Representatives. The Senate, on the other hand, is divided into three sections – Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. Each of the classes are contested after a period of six years each.

To comprehend the process, one must note that the 33 seats of Class 1 were last contested in 2018. This was followed by the ongoing election of Class 2 seats this year, and the seats categorised as Class 3 will be contested in 2022.  While 33 seats each add to 99, the 100th member of the Senate is the Vice President, who is elected once in four years along with the President.

In other words, the Senate elections are held at every two years, but only one-third of the total seats are contested in the biennial polls. Also, each Senator is elected for a fixed term of six years. Unlike the President, there is no cap on the number of re-elections a Senator could seek.

How Are Numbers Currently Stacked Up in The Senate?

Currently, the Republicans have 53 Senators in the Upper Chamber of Congress, giving them a slim majority. The Democrats trail with 45 Senators, but two Independents – one of them being presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders – backing the Dems on major issues.

What Poll Trackers Are Predicting for Senate Elections?

As per the consensus forecast of Senate elections 2020, based on the survey of Sabato’s Crystal BallThe Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections, as well as the probabilistic FiveThirtyEight, the Democrats are poised to overturn the GOP majority in the Upper Chamber of Congress. The poll trackers, as of October 15, said the Democrats could be occupying 49 seats by end of the polls, and the Republicans could be reduced to 47. Four Independent winners may also emerge, the opinion polls suggested.


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Why The Senate Elections Are Crucial?

For the smooth passage of legislations and clearance of key policy decisions enacted by the President, the ruling party attempts to control the Upper Chamber of Congress. The Senate also has the strength to veto moves undertaken by the House of Representatives. This was reflected earlier this year when the Senate dismissed the impeachment motion against President Donald Trump due to the majority held by GOP lawmakers.

Who Won in The Last 3 Senate Elections?

In 2018, when Class 1 seats were contested, the Democrats ended up winning 21 out of the 33 seats contested. The Republicans bagged 10 seats, whereas, two Independents emerged victorious.

In the 2016 Senate polls, when Class 3 seats were contested, the Republicans gained an upper hand by winning 20 seats, whereas, the Democrats were restricted to 12. A similar mandate was recorded in 2014, when the Red and Blue party settled for 21 and 12 seats, respectively, out of the 33 contested.

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