Two freshmen delegates are attempting to bring more democracy to the people by passing legislation that would allow voters to choose their own representative when there is an unexpected vacancy in the U.S. Senate or Maryland General Assembly. Del. David Moon, D-Montgomery County, introduced HB 595 Wednesday to the Ways and Means committee. It would allow voters to have a say in who represents them in the the United States Senate. “I would argue the U.S. Senate — you know we have only two senators from Maryland — this is one of the most important positions we are electing,” said Moon. The governor would still make an interim appointment if there was a vacancy, as is current law, but then he would then have to call a special primary election between 60 and 90 days after the vacancy occurs. After the primary, the governor would then call a special general election within 60-90 days.
One stipulation would a special election unnecessary if a vacancy happened within 60 days of a regular election. Moon encouraged the delegates to be flexible with this number as they proceed with the bill, as some states take the 60 days up to one year, saying “if it’s not worth the cost,” then why bother?
The cost will be more than $1 million for the state’s share of voting system costs for one primary and one general special election, according to the Department of Legislative Services.
Moon was not deterred by the numbers, “the last vacancy was in 1912, over 100 years ago. As such, any appropriations would be exceedingly rare,” said Moon.