W. Virginia legislators approve special election reform bill before deadline

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July 19, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Facing a tight deadline, the House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved the Senate's version of a bill to change how U.S. Senate vacancies are filled in West Virginia[1].

The House of Delegates approved the bill by a vote of 83-7. The new law specifies when and how special elections can occur. The law removes a significant amount of discretion from the Secretary of State in setting special election deadlines. However, the state's top election officer will be given the opportunity to modify deadlines on a limited basis[1].

Lawmakers also approved an amendment that would allow qualified candidates already on the general election ballot to run for the U.S. Senate seat at the same time. This has already raised speculation of Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito running for the Senate seat in addition to the House seat she holds in the 2nd District[1].

During an evening press conference, Governor Joe Manchin immediately signed the bill into law. Manchin also announced that all prospective candidates for the U.S. Senate special election must declare their intent to run by July 23, 2010, at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. The Governor will announce his intent to run for the seat on July 20, 2010 during a press conference[1].

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