United States House Committee on Elections
The United States House Committee on Elections is a former standing committee of the United States House of Representatives.
Article 1, section 5, of the Constitution of the United States specifies: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members." The Committee on Elections was established as the first standing committee of the House to perform this function on April 13, 1789, just two weeks after the first quorum allowed the House of Representatives to organize itself. Rule number 7 of the first rules adopted by the House of Representatives specifies the character and jurisdiction of the committee:
- 7. A standing Committee on Elections shall be appointed, to consist of seven members, it shall be the duty of the said committee to examine and report upon the certificates of election, or other credentials of the members returned to serve in this House, and to take into their consideration all such matters as shall or may come in question, and be referred to them by the House, touching returns and elections, and to report their proceedings, with their opinion thereupon, to the House.
From 1789 until the mid-19th century the number of contested election cases remained stable at an average of three per Congress. After the 34th Congress (1855–57) the number of contested seats rose sporadically to a peak of 38 during the 54th Congress (1895–97). In 1895, due to the increase in workload, the committee was split into three separate committees: Elections #1, Elections #2, and Elections #3. After 1935 the number of contested elections returned to an average of three per Congress, and in 1947 the three Elections Committees were abolished and their jurisdiction included in that of the new House Administration Committee.
- Annals of the Congress of the United States, 1st Cong., 1st sess., April 13, 1789, p. 122.