Washington state will hold a special election in November to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee for just one month – an election expected to be confusing for voters, burdensome for candidates and costly for the state. Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed said Monday that the state is required under the U.S. Constitution to hold such a vote to fill a vacant seat. Inslee, a Democrat, resigned from his position last month to run for governor. The November election, which will take place on the same ballot as the presidential vote and other state races, is likely to be particularly confusing to voters because Congress is also transitioning to its new district boundaries. The special election will be focused on the old 1st District boundaries that Inslee represented. Voters will also be deciding who will represent the new 1st District.
Gregoire and Reed said they had explored the possibility of having a special election under the new 1st District boundaries to keep things more simple. But that would have meant some residents would briefly have two representatives in Congress while others would have none.
Gregoire said it’s also important that the state have full representation in December because it’s possible some critical issues will come up for a vote shortly after the election.