1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Harden
Senate Bill 2562
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT IN CASE OF A VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, SECRETARY OF STATE, STATE TREASURER, AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS, COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE, COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE, STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER AND STATE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER, THE UNEXPIRED TERM OF WHICH EXCEEDS SIX MONTHS, AN ELECTION SHALL BE HELD ON THE NEXT REGULAR SPECIAL ELECTION DAY; TO PROVIDE AN EXCEPTION THERETO; TO PROVIDE THAT THE GOVERNOR SHALL APPOINT A QUALIFIED PERSON TO HOLD THE OFFICE UNTIL THE VACANCY IS FILLED BY ELECTION; TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-833 AND 23-15-837, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. In case of a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Auditor of Public Accounts, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, State Highway Commissioner and State Public Service Commissioner, the unexpired term of which shall exceed six (6) months, the Governor shall within ten (10) days after happening of such vacancy issue his proclamation calling an election to fill a vacancy in the vacant office to be held on the next regular special election day unless the vacancy shall occur before ninety (90) days prior to the general election in a year in which an election would normally be held for the vacant office as provided by law, in which case the person appointed by the Governor shall serve the unexpired portion of the term. Upon the occurring of such a vacancy, the Governor shall appoint a qualified person to hold the office and discharge the duties thereof until the vacancy shall be filled by election as provided in this section.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-833, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-833. Except as otherwise provided by law, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each year shall be designated the regular special election day, and on that day an election shall be held to fill any vacancy in county, county district, * * * district attorney elective offices and the offices enumerated in Section 1, Senate Bill No. 2562, 1997 Regular Session.
All special elections, or elections to fill vacancies, shall in all respects be held, conducted and returned in the same manner as general elections, except that where no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in such election, then a runoff election shall be held two (2) weeks after such election and the two (2) candidates who receive the highest popular votes for such office shall have their names submitted as such candidates to the said runoff and the candidate who leads in such runoff election shall be elected to the office. When there is a tie in the first election of those receiving next highest vote, these two (2) and the one receiving the highest vote, none having received a majority, shall go into the runoff election and whoever leads in such runoff election shall be entitled to the office.
In those years when the regular special election day shall occur on the same day as the general election, the names of candidates in any special election and the general election shall be placed on the same ballot, but shall be clearly distinguished as general election candidates or special election candidates.
At any time a special election is held on the same day as a party primary election, the names of the candidates in the special election may be placed on the same ballot, but shall be clearly distinguished as special election candidates or primary election candidates.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-837, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-837. (1) When a special election shall have been called to fill any state or state district office and where only one (1) person has duly qualified with the State Board of Election Commissioners to be a candidate in such special election within the time prescribed by law for qualifying as such candidate, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall make a finding and determination of such fact duly entered upon its official minutes.
(2) A finding and determination and certification to office by the State Board of Election Commissioners, as herein provided, shall dispense with the holding of the special election.
(3) A certified copy of the finding and determination of the State Board of Election Commissioners shall be forthwith filed with the Governor, and the Governor shall appoint the candidate so certified to fill the unexpired term.
SECTION 4. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is hereby directed to submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.