A fight over Utah election law could roil the first few weeks of the 2017 Utah Legislature. Speculation is swirling that Rep. Chris Stewart could be named Secretary of the Air Force in the Donald Trump administration. If that comes to pass, Stewart would have to resign his seat in Congress, leaving a vacancy. Here’s where that becomes a problem. Utah has no procedure for filling a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. State law only says in the case of a vacancy in that body, “When a vacancy occurs for any reason in the office of a representative in Congress, the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy.” That’s it. The law does not specify how soon he has to call the election, and how that election will be conducted. … Here’s how this could become a massive headache.
For instance, if Stewart steps down, there could be a landslide of Republicans and who would want to replace him. There’s no procedure for handling that situation. If this were a regular election, there might be a primary before the general vote, but in this case, nobody knows what happens.
What if Democrats wanted to challenge for an empty House seat? If there’s a vacancy in the Utah Legislature, only the party that currently holds the seat is allowed to pick a replacement. Only a Republican replaces a Republican, and only a Democrat will replace a Democrat. There’s nothing in Utah law specifying if any political parties are from participating in a special House election.
Full Article: Lawmakers Racing to Fix Gaping Hole in Utah Election Law.