The "special elections" held on Nov. 2nd will allow three senators-elect to sworn in this month, before the new Congress convenes in January. Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be sworn-in on Monday (Nov. 15) when the Senate returns for its lame-duck session.
Coons will take VP Joe Biden's old seat, and Manchin will hold the seat of former Sen. Robert Byrd, who died last summer.
But Illinois Sen.-elect Mark Kirk, a Republican who won President Barack Obama's seat, will follow two weeks later. Why? The procedures for filling the president's seat were laid out by a federal judge in Chicago. Under those rules, Kirk can't get his election certificate until Nov. 23 or 24.
Because the Senate is expected to be in its Thanksgiving recess period, Kirk isn't excepted to sworn in until the following Monday, Nov. 29. Sen. Roland Burris will continue to fill Obama's seat until then.
Even though most of the new senators-elect will not officially start until the new Congress convenes in January, all of them are expected in town next week for orientation and elections of party leadership.