Alabama considers bill to eliminate special elections

John Bowden

January 20, 2018
The state of Alabama is considering a bill to eliminate special elections for Senate races, after a special election in December cost $11 million.

Alabama news outlet reports that a bill being considered in the Alabama state House would completely eliminate special elections for Senate races in the state. The bill, sponsored by the Republican chairman of the Alabama House Ways and Means Committee, passed a committee this week and is set up for a possible vote in the full House.

Under current law, if a vacancy occurs in one of Alabama's Senate seats, the governor appoints a temporary replacement and is required to hold a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the term.
Alabama state Rep. Steve Clouse's bill would change the law to require a special election to coincide with the next election cycle for which the candidate qualifying process has not started.p

Under Clouse's bill, if a Senate vacancy occurred before Jan. 8 2018, when the candidate qualifying process began, the election would be held in November 2018. If it occurred on Jan. 8 or after, the election would be held in 2020.

Clouse told that the highly contentious battle between the two candidates in December's special election, now-Sen. Doug Jones (D) and Roy Moore (R), did not impact his decision to write the bill, instead citing the immense cost of holding a special election outside of a normal election cycle.

The bill "has nothing to do with the personalities in last year's election. It has everything to do with the cost to the General Fund," Clouse said.

The Alabama special election gained national attention and became a source of controversy after The Washington Post reported allegations from multiple women who said Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with them when they were as young as 14.