Inslee announced on Saturday he was stepping down from his House seat to focus on his run for governor against state Attorney General Rob McKenna (R).
Election officials told The Associated Press they had planned to follow a state law that says to use the regularly scheduled November election and install the winner right away. That candidate would serve the remainder of Inslee's term, and then a full term starting in January.
But the election would be held under new congressional lines, which don't officially kick in until January. That could cause problems if it means voters were being represented — even for a short time — by someone they had no say in choosing.
As a result, the state may hold two elections on the same day in November: a special election to complete Inslee's term, and a regular election for the full term. The process is similar to what New Jersey may use to replace former Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), who died last week while in office.
Because the Washington district's new lines are less favorable to Democrats than the old lines, there is also the possibility that two different candidates could win the special and general elections, leading to a situation where the special-election winner would serve for just one month.
Officials said they were also concerned about the confusion the balloting could wreak with voters, and are consulting with the Committee on House Administration.