January 21, 2015
CONTACT: Blair Fjeseth, (406) 444-2807
Secretary McCulloch: U.S. Senate Vacancies Should Be Filled by Special Elections
HELENA, MT – Secretary of State Linda McCulloch testified today in support of Senate Bill 73, her requested legislation to fill U.S. Senate vacancies by special elections rather than gubernatorial appointments.
“Montana already requires special elections for vacancies in the U.S. House of Representatives,” McCulloch said. “Requiring the same process for U.S. Senate vacancies shouldn’t be a political issue, rather a common sense good government decision by our Legislators.”
Montana is currently one of thirty-six states that fill vacant seats by gubernatorial appointment. The remaining fourteen states hold special elections either immediately or following an interim of 60 to 90 days. SB 73, which is being sponsored by Senator Facey, calls for either a standalone special election or depending on the proximity, the election may be held in conjunction with another federal or municipal election. A cost savings measure.
“As Montana’s Chief Elections Officer, I believe voters have a fundamental right to directly elect those individuals charged with representing our state in Congress, that includes both the House and the Senate,” McCulloch said. “I have never believed that politicians should be put in the position to have to choose politicians to represent Montana in Congress regardless of whether the selected replacement will serve for one day or for one year.”
The hearing was held in the Senate State Administration Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
This will be the third time that Secretary McCulloch has introduced this bill before the Legislature.