As the results for the US Presidential Elections remain unannounced two days past Election Day, the world continues to eye the states whose polls would determine the decisive victory between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Republic candidate Donald Trump. As of now, Biden is leading with 264 electoral votes—needing a majority of 270 to win—while Trump follows behind at 214. The ballots from the six remaining states—Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—are currently being counted.

Apart from the presidential vote, US Elections also include voting on the second branch of government, the state legislature. The legislature, or Congress, comprises two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate elections have Republicans in the lead with 48 seats won, while Democrats have won 46. 2 seats have been won by independents, while 4 remain undecided. The majority in the Senate would be determined by 50 seats. Currently, all eyes are on Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska, where votes have been counted up to 95%, 94% and 56% respectively.

The House of Representatives is currently being led by the Democratic Party, with 204 seats won. The Republican Party has won 190 seats. 41 seats have not yet been called.

The Senate, which is the upper chamber of the legislature, has 100 elected members. Senators serve 6-year terms, with elections for one-thirds of the chamber being conducted every two years. This year, 35 Senate seats are being contested. After including the Independent votes, the Democrats require 3 more votes to win majority in the Senate. In case Donald Trump wins the election and Mike Pence as vice-president breaks the tie, the Democrats require 4 more seats to retain majority.

The lower chamber, the House of Representatives, comprises 435 members. The Democrats are currently defending their majority in the House with 204 seats won. The Republicans have so far won 190 seats. Either party would need at least 218 seats win a majority within the chamber. As of now, with mail-in ballots still being processed, a decisive victory cannot be determined. Representatives of the House serve two-year terms, with re-elections occurring every even year.

Legislation in the US needs to pass through both chambers of the Congress before becoming fortified as law. The Senate also holds other important functions, including approving senior presidential appointments for the Supreme Court. The makeup of the state legislature, therefore, is an important part of the US Government and greatly affects the kind of laws and policies that shape United States politics.


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