Alabama state House votes to end special elections

Alabama state House votes to end special elections
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The Alabama state House voted Tuesday to end special elections for appointments to U.S. Senate seats.

The bill passed 67-31 on a largely party-line vote, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, despite a filibuster attempt from state House Democrats.

Under current law, if a vacancy occurs in one of Alabama's Senate seats, the governor appoints a temporary replacement and is required to hold a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the term.

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State Rep. Steve Clouse's (R) bill would change the law to require a special election to coincide with the next election cycle, allowing a governor's appointee to serve until the next general election instead of forcing the governor to call an earlier election.

Clouse told the Advertiser the bill was about saving the state money and has “nothing to do” with the candidates in the December special election, which saw Sen. Doug Jones (D) defeat Republican Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama Alabama secretary of state announces Senate bid Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' MORE in a stunning upset.

Clouse said the 2017 special election cost the state $11 million.

“It has everything to do with the cost to the General Fund,” he said.

Under the bill, if a Senate vacancy occurred before Jan. 8, 2018, when the candidate qualifying process began, the election would be held in November 2018. If it occurred on Jan. 8 or after, the election would be held in 2020.

The bill will now head to the state Senate for a vote.

The Alabama special election gained national attention and became a source of controversy after The Washington Post reported allegations from multiple women who said Moore sought romantic or sexual relationships with them when they were as young as 14, while others said the former judge sexually harassed or assaulted them.