Virginia Deceased Governor Procedures, Question 2 (2004)
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Text of measure
The language that appeared on the ballot:
The Constitution now provides for successors to serve as Governor or Acting Governor if the Governor dies, resigns, or cannot serve as Governor. The present list of successors includes the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, in that order. If these listed officials cannot serve as Governor or Acting Governor, the House of Delegates then meets to elect a person to fill the vacancy in the office of Governor.
The proposed constitutional amendment expands the list of persons who may serve as Acting Governor in the event of an emergency or enemy attack that prevents the House of Delegates from meeting to elect a person to fill the vacancy.
The amendment adds to the list: the person designated by the Rules of the House of Delegates to succeed the Speaker, the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the majority leader of the Senate, in that designated order. The successor would be Acting Governor until the House of Delegates convened to elect a Governor. The amendment also includes authority for the General Assembly, by law, to provide for a waiver of certain eligibility requirements for the Attorney General, Speaker, or acting Speaker to serve as Governor or acting Governor in the event of an emergency or enemy attack.
The Secure Virginia Panel recommended on September 5, 2002, that the Constitution be amended to expand the list of possible successors to the office of Governor. This Panel was created by Executive Order 7 (2002) to make recommendations for improving the Commonwealth's preparedness and ability to respond to disasters and emergencies of all kinds, including terrorist attacks. The Panel recommended expanding the list of possible successors in case a disaster or emergency prevents the House of Delegates from meeting to elect a successor.