If you follow politics and are wondering how in the world Alan Keyes, a resident of Maryland, could run against Barack Obama to be the next U.S. senator from Illinois, you are not alone. New Yorkers - with one former senator (Robert Kennedy) hailing from Boston, and a current senator (Hillary Clinton) hailing from Illinois and Arkansas - are no strangers to charges sending carpetbaggers to Washington. (Heck, even our mayor speaks with a Boston accent).

So, if you're not sure how out-of-towners can run for office, Slate.com's excellent "Explainer" series tackles this question for you. In addition to being at least 30 years old, and a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, one need only be a resident of a state on election day to qualify to run for office. That means there's still time for Ask Gothamist to move to Illinois and give this whole Senate thing a shot.