Call it a political paradise if you live in certain places in Alabama and don’t miss an opportunity to cast a vote. The practicality of it all, however, remains questionable. Simply put, there are three special election cycles ongoing right now to fill vacancies in the Alabama legislature. But the winners of those races will not be elected until after the ongoing legislative session ends. And unless they are re-elected in the state’s regular 2018 election cycle, which begins with the June 5 Democratic and Republican primaries, they will leave office without ever casting a single vote as a state lawmaker. “There’s no logic to it but it doesn’t have anything to do with logic,” said John Merrill, the state’s top elections official as Secretary of State.
“It has everything to do with the law. It says when there is a vacancy, the governor will call a special election.”
That law may soon change.
In a 27-0 vote, the state Senate on Thursday passed a bill brought by Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, that would abolish special elections to fill vacancies in the legislature with two years or less remaining on the term. In the case of a short-term vacancy, the bill originally called for the governor to appoint someone who would then not be eligible to seek election to the seat. The amended version of the bill, passed by the Senate, states that a vacancy in the last two years of a term would remain vacant and no replacement would be appointed.