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Should There Be Special Elections When Senators Resign?

Senator Russ Feingold has plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would call for special elections when a senator leaves Congress midterm.

In a press release, Feingold explained why he wants to end appointments by governors:

The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end. In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators. They should have the same power in the case of unexpected midterm vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people.

While the drama-filled headlines about Caroline Kennedy and Gov. Blagojevich make this amendment seem very prudent, there could be some unintended consequences. A president might become reluctant to appoint senators to administration positions for fear that a political rival may win a special election. In addition special elections come with a hefty price tag.

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Join The Conversation
deanna024 deanna024 7 years
If they ever get Internet voting off the ground, it would not be costly and time-consuming to do a mid-term election ...
liliblu liliblu 7 years
Whose going to pay for these special elections?
skb9850 skb9850 7 years
Since the person is supposed to represent the people, I think the people should elect the next representative. I like Hypno's suggestion that the governor give the people 3 choices.
starangel82 starangel82 7 years
I'm with steph on this one.
starangel82 starangel82 7 years
I'm with steph on this one.
janneth janneth 7 years
Too expensive.
janneth janneth 7 years
Too expensive.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Right on, Steph.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Right on, Steph.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Well I'm up for a compromise. Have the Gov. give us a choice and let us decide. Two from their respective party and one from the opposing party.
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
steph i don't think i've ever heard you say "tool" before! at least not in that context! rock on!
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
steph i don't think i've ever heard you say "tool" before! at least not in that context!rock on!
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
Special elections are costly and unnecessary. To force that on a state because of a bad instance is most likely against the constitution.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
hahahahaha stephley i agree. by the way citizen, feingold is a senator, not a representative :)
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
hahahahaha stephley i agree.by the way citizen, feingold is a senator, not a representative :)
stephley stephley 7 years
Despite Blagojevich and New York, I don't see that the system of appointments to fill mid-term vacancies is so seriously broken that it needs to be changed. Maybe we need to look more carefully at the tools we're electing as governors.
stephley stephley 7 years
Despite Blagojevich and New York, I don't see that the system of appointments to fill mid-term vacancies is so seriously broken that it needs to be changed. Maybe we need to look more carefully at the tools we're electing as governors.
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