Washington Vacancies in Office, HJR 4206 (2003)
The ballot measure amended Section 15 of Article II of the Washington State Constitution with regard to the matter of filling vacancies in legislative and partisan county elective offices that permit newly-elected officers to take office early if the office falls vacant after the general election and the newly-elected officer is of the same political party as the former officer.
HJR 4206 is the 96th Amendment to the Washington State Constitution since the adoption of the 1889 version of the constitution.
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Prior to passage
Before HJR was approved in the 2003 election, at times when vacancies occurred in either the Washington State Senate or the Washington House of Representatives, in a district entirely located within a single county, or at times when a vacancy occurs in a county elective office, the vacancy was filled by appointment by the county legislative authority (county council or board of county commissioners).
The person appointed had to be from the same district or county as the officer whose office had become vacant, and of the same political party.
The county legislative authority was required to choose from a list of three persons nominated by the county central committee of the political party with which the former officer was affiliated when last elected to the office. If the members of the county legislative authority could not agree on an appointment within 60 days after the vacancy, the governor made the appointment from the same list of nominees. The person appointed served until his or her successor was elected at the next general election and had qualified to serve.
When vacancies occurred in either house of the legislature where the district included territory in two or more counties, the vacancy was filled by joint action of the legislative authorities of the counties in which the district is located. The nomination could be made by either the political party’s state central committee or by joint action of the party’s county central committees. The governor made the appointment if the county legislators couldn't agree.
Impact of HJR 4206
HJR 4206 addressed the special circumstance in which a vacancy occurs after a general election at which a new officer has been elected for the next succeeding term in office, such as a vacancy created by the incumbent’s death or resignation after a successor has been elected to the next term in office but before the successor has actually taken office.
If the newly-elected officer is of the same party as the previous incumbent, under HJR 4206, the newly-elected officer can take office for the remainder of the previous incumbent’s term, as well as serving during the new term for which he or she has been elected.
- State of Washington 2003 ballot measure election results
- 2003 Washington Ballot Measures Details
- Official voter pamphlet guide to HJR 4206
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