Moss Bill Would Ensure Prompt Special Election to Fill Vacancies

Current vacancies will go nearly a year without elected representation
Thursday, February 8, 2018
LANSING — State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) introduced a bill today that would ensure prompt elections to fill the seats prematurely vacated by members of the state Legislature or Congress.

House Bill 5534 would require a special election to fill a vacant seat be held no earlier than 60 days after the seat is vacated and no later than the next regularly scheduled election date.

“Citizens rely on their elected officials to listen to their concerns and help solve their problems. Every day that a congressional or legislative seat is empty is a day that citizens are denied a voice and full participation in their government,” Rep. Moss said.

Currently, there is a vacant congressional seat and vacant state House seat in Michigan, both of which Gov. Snyder did not call to be filled until November 6, 2018. If the Moss bill had been in effect, these vacant seats would be filled no later than a May primary election and August general election rather than in November — or, at minimum, 91 days sooner.

Instead, Michigan’s 13th Congressional District will sit vacant for 337 days after Congressman John Conyers resigned on Dec. 5, 2017. By contrast, an Arizona Congressman resigned three days after Conyers and that seat will be filled by April.

“There’s no reason to make Michiganders wait so long. A representative democracy only works when there is representation. That system breaks down when citizens are told they have to go nearly a year without anyone to be their voice in the state Capitol or in the halls of Congress,” Rep. Moss said.