If the time is short, leave the seat empty. The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would end special elections for legislative vacancies that take place 13 months before the next statewide general election. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, got altered before passing the Senate last week. The proposal at first would have allowed the governor to appoint legislators to vacancies if there were less than two years remaining in the term. But Glover said that idea — which would expand the chief executive’s powers in a state government weighted toward the Legislature — faced a struggle.
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.
An pro-Democratic redistricting group headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, on Monday for declining to hold special elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee alleged in the lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit Court that Walker was violating the law and denying Wisconsin voters representation by leaving the elected offices unfilled until 2019. The seats, one in the state Assembly and the other in the state Senate, became vacant in December when two Republican lawmakers resigned to accept jobs in Walker’s administration.
Wisconsin: Eric Holder’s group sues Gov. Scott Walker over special elections | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Monday over his refusal to call special elections to fill two open legislative seats. Fresh off a victory in a Senate special election last month, Wisconsin Democrats have demanded that Walker call these two additional special elections and give their party an opportunity to notch more wins. With Democrats seeing an opportunity — and Republicans seeing a threat — the controversy over the special election has taken on a strong political cast. Holder’s group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, jumped into the fight Monday, bringing the lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court on behalf of Wisconsin Democrats who live in the two districts.
Alabama lawmakers are pitching nearly two dozen pieces of legislation to retool the state’s elections process. The effort arrives ahead of a 2018 election that will see all of the state’s constitutional offices and legislative seats on the ballot. It also follows one of the major political upsets of modern era when Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in December’s special U.S. Senate contest. The most notable of the changes would eliminate future special U.S. Senate elections like the one that Jones won. Proponents say that this will save the state millions of dollars; opponents say it will subvert the democratic process. A floor fight could occur in the Alabama Senate next week.
A bill to eliminate special elections when there are vacancies in the U.S. Senate is in position for a vote in the Alabama House of Representatives next week. It comes in the wake of last year’s bruising battle to fill the seat Jeff Sessions left to become attorney general, won by Democrat Doug Jones. House Ways and Means General Fund Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said his bill to eliminate Senate special elections “has nothing to do with the personalities in last year’s election. It has everything to do with the cost to the General Fund.” Clouse said $11 million has been allocated to cover the cost of the three rounds of the special election to fill Sessions’ seat.
Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore released a poem on Christmas Eve, just days before the final totals in his losing effort against Democrat Doug Jones are to be certified. Moore’s self-written poem was posted to Facebook. It tells the story of a young girl whose father had died and the following Christmas miracle. “Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!” the note accompanying the video said. Moore has not addressed his loss to Jones, the first Democrat in more than 20 years to be elected to the Senate from Alabama. The former Alabama Chief Justice hasn’t conceded the race, saying he wanted to wait until all military and provisional ballots were counted. That happened last week and did not change the results of the election.
Alabama: Roy Moore still won’t concede the Alabama Senate race. And those write-in votes? Mickey Mouse got a few | Los Angeles Times
It’s been 10 days and Republican Roy Moore has yet to concede in Alabama’s special Senate race, even as election officials move toward certifying Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the days ahead. As vote tallies from 100% of the state’s precincts show Alabamians have clearly selected Jones, Moore has offered no indication that he plans to concede the race. On Friday, all of Alabama’s 67 counties were required to officially file their election results to the secretary of state’s office. In a statement, Secretary of State John H. Merrill said his office plans to officially certify the election on Dec. 28. Also Friday, some of the names left on thousands of write-in ballots began to emerge. Some names are surprising. Who knew SpongeBob SquarePants had a constituency?
Arizona: Franks’ immediate resignation puts monkey wrench into special election | Arizona Capitol Times
A quirk in state law could force top contenders to replace Trent Franks to choose between a run for Congress and keeping their current jobs in the Legislature. Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to announce Monday the date for the primary election for those who want to vie for the now-open post in Congressional District 8. That can be between Feb. 26 and March 8. But by law, the deadline to submit nominating petitions will be Jan. 10. And that’s what creates the dilemma for sitting lawmakers.
Michigan: Special election to replace Rep. John Conyers Jr. set for November 2018 | The Washington Post
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has scheduled a November 2018 election to replace disgraced Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), a decision that will leave much of Detroit without representation in Congress for nearly a year. “Having ample time for candidates to make a decision about running for office and file their paperwork gives people more options as to who will next represent them in Congress,” Snyder said in a statement. “In order to allow several months for that to take place and to reduce the financial burden on local taxpayers, the primary and general elections will be held when regularly scheduled elections are already occurring.” The 88-year-old Conyers, who served in Congress for 52 years, stepped down Tuesday after multiple former aides accused him of sexual misconduct.