2007 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Fleming
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN ANY LEGISLATOR OR STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL CHANGES HIS OR HER POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION BEFORE JANUARY 1 OF THE YEAR IN WHICH THE LEGISLATOR OR STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL IS REQUIRED TO QUALIFY FOR REELECTION, THE OFFICE OF THE LEGISLATOR OR STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL SHALL BE DECLARED VACANT AND A SPECIAL ELECTION SHALL BE CALLED WITHIN 60 DAYS OF THE DATE THE ELECTED OFFICIAL CHANGES POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION; TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-831 AND 23-15-851, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The office of any legislator or statewide elected official who changes his or her political party affiliation before January 1 of the year in which the legislator or statewide elected official is required to qualify for reelection, shall be declared vacant, and a special election shall be called within sixty (60) days of the date the elected official changes political party affiliation. If the office of a legislator is vacated under this section, the special election shall be held in accordance with Section 23-15-851. A "change in political party affiliation" occurs when:
(a) Any elected official publicly declares that he or she is leaving the political party with which he or she was affiliated when he or she was elected to office;
(b) Any elected official publicly declares that he or she is becoming a member of a political party which is different from the political party with which he or she was affiliated at the time of election.
(2) All special elections held under subsection (1) of this section shall be conducted, held and returned in the same manner and in all respects 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 (1) 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.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-831, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-831. Except as otherwise provided in Section 1 of House Bill No. ___, 2007 Regular Session, when a vacancy other than in the Legislature shall occur, by death, resignation or otherwise, in any state or state district office, which is elective, and there is no special provision of law for the filling of said vacancy, the same shall be filled for the unexpired term by appointment by the Governor.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-851, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-851. Except as otherwise provided in Section 1 of House Bill No. ___, 2007 Regular Session, when vacancies happen in either house of the Legislature, the Governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies on a day therein to be specified; and at least twenty (20) days' notice shall be given of such election in each county or part of a county in which such election shall be held. Notice of the election shall be posted at the courthouse and in each supervisors district in the county or part of county in which such election shall be held for as near twenty (20) days as may be practicable; and the election shall be prepared for and held as in the case of a general election.
SECTION 4. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall 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 July 1, 2007, if it is effectuated on or before that date under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended. If it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended, after July 1, 2007, 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.