Illinois heading toward costly special Senate election

Illinois voters may be electing two senators in November.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a request by state officials for a rehearing on an earlier lower court ruling that required Sen. Roland Burris’s (D-Ill.) term to expire with the Nov. 2 general election.  

The 17th Amendment of the Constitution requires that there be a special election to fill the remainder of an unexpired Senate term. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) appointed Burris to President Obama’s former seat in December 2008. After Blagojevich was impeached, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) took office but didn’t call a special.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s (D) office had asked the appeals court to reconsider the earlier ruling because an election would cost millions only for the winner to hold office for a matter of weeks, according to Chicago Public Radio. The appeals court denied that request Thursday and ordered the lower court to iron out the details of holding a special election on the same day as the general election.

According to the Chicago Tribune, officials are trying to determine how the state’s political parties will nominate candidates for the short-term Senate spot without holding a costly special primary election.