17th_AmendmentThis November’s midterm election coincides with another special occasion: November 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the first nationwide popular election of U.S. Senators. (Maryland and Alabama each held a special election prior to November 1914.)

Before the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislatures. Alaska and Hawaii, admitted to statehood in 1959, have never chosen a U.S. Senator legislatively.

The 17th Amendment was adopted in 1912, ratified by 36 states, and thus certified as part of the constitution in 1913. Since certification, four additional states have also ratified: Louisiana (1914), Alabama (2002), Delaware (2010), and Maryland (2012).

The first nationwide direct election to the Senate following the ratification of the 17th Amendment was in November 1914. Interestingly, every incumbent senator running won reelection. In recent years, Senate reelection rates have remained high, only dipping below 60% in 1980.

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