Local election officials are anxiously awaiting word from Gov. Rick Snyder on whether a special election will be held to fill the remaining time of U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter’s term of office in Congress. The timing of McCotter’s resignation on Friday, following a petition signature scandal that erupted on Memorial Day weekend, couldn’t be much worse. It’s too late to include a special election during the Aug. 7 primary election because absentee ballots already have been mailed to thousands of voters. And the resignation comes as thousands of voters already are confronted with the prospect of new congressional representation because of redrawn districts, dictated by population shifts that are reported every 10 years by the U.S. Census.
The Michigan election code states: “The governor shall call a special election in any congressional district … whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of representative in Congress after the term of service has begun for which such representative was elected; or the governor shall direct that such vacancy shall be filled at the next general election to be held at least 30 days after such vacancy shall occur. It says ‘shall direct’ that a vacancy be filled,” said election law expert Eric Doster, which doesn’t seem to allow much wiggle room to leave the seat vacant for the next five months. But the next general election on Nov. 6 would result in the winning candidate serving less than two months.