Law Passed To Regulate ‘Time And Procedure’ For Electing Senators

1886

The federal law requires that the legislative chambers in each state meet separately, and name a senator by open vote. If the two chambers have not chosen the same person, the chambers are to meet in a joint session every day until one candidate receives a majority vote.

The law is the first change in the original process for selecting senators created by the framers, but it fails to remedy the deadlocks. In 1899, the Delaware legislature was so divided that the state legislature did not send a senator to Washington for four years. In fact, deadlocks increased significantly: 45 occurred between 1891 and 1905 in 20 states.