The United States holds its federal elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The President of the United States is elected to a four-year term. Each of the 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms. The 100 members in the United States Senate are elected to six-year terms, with one-third of them being renewed every two years.
Because of when these federal offices are up for election, the election years are commonly classified into the following three categories:
- Presidential elections: Elections for the U.S. President are held every four years, coinciding with those for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
- Midterm elections: They occur two years after each presidential election. Elections are held for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 33 or 34 seats in the Senate. As a result, the membership of these two legislative chambers changes near the midpoint of a president's four-year term of office
- Off-year elections: These are elections during odd-numbered years. Only special elections, if necessary, are held to fill vacant seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, usually either due to incumbents resigning or dying while in office.
The years in which elections are held for U.S. state and local offices vary between each jurisdiction. The vast majority of races held during off-year elections are at the city and local level, but many other city and local governments may instead hold their elections during even-numbered years to coincide with either the presidential or midterm elections.
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