Doesn’t there state constitution mandate a special election?
WHEELING - It took two tries Saturday for the West Virginia House of Delegates to pass legislation setting a Nov. 2 date for state voters to elect their next U.S. senator.
But as of late Saturday, the House and Senate remained at odds over when that legislation becomes effective, and the need for a special primary election next month. Private discussions continued late Saturday night among state officials to attempt to resolve the differences.
The state Senate on Friday passed a bill establishing a Nov. 2 date - the day of the regular general election - for a special election to fill the seat previously occupied by U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. The bill also calls for a special election on Aug. 28.
On Saturday, House members debated their version of the legislation, which cancels the primary election if only one candidate were to file for their party. The West Virginia Secretary of State's Office estimates the cost of the primary election at $5.9 million. The House initially rejected the bill by a vote of 42 in favor, 45 against and 13 not voting. Then after a two-hour recess, members reconsidered the legislation - passing it with 50 in favor, 34 against and 16 not voting.
Their election laws in place are specific about the replacement procedure. The time line has passed by their current laws to hold a primary and general election this year. Thus the appt would be until the 2012 election which is also the time the normal seat would be up for election. The legislature is trying to amend the procedure by allowing for a primary followed by the general election in Nov of this year. I expect they’ll get it worked out.