Vot­ers ap­prove change in fill­ing comp­trol­ler, AG va­can­cies

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Michael Dresser mdresser@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/michaelt­dresser

Va­can­cies in the of­fices of Mary­land comp­trol­ler and at­tor­ney gen­eral will be filled by mem­bers of the last party to win elec­tion for those of­fices un­der a state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment ap­proved by vot­ers Tues­day.

The mea­sure was the only statewide bal­lot ques­tion this year.

The amend­ment called for va­can­cies that oc­cur in those two state of­fices to be filled in a way that’s sim­i­lar to the method for re­plac­ing delegates and sen­a­tors who leave their Gen­eral Assem­bly seats before their terms ex­pire.

If the vacancy oc­curs early enough in the comp­trol­ler’s or at­tor­ney gen­eral’s term, the cen­tral com­mit­tee of that of­fi­cial’s party will choose a re­place­ment. The gover­nor will be re­quired to ap­point that per­son.

The re­place­ment will then have to run in a spe­cial elec­tion in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year.

If the vacancy oc­curs too late for the po­si­tion to go on the pres­i­den­tial year bal­lot, the re­place­ment will serve out their pre­de­ces­sor’s four-year term.

Un­der cur­rent law, the gover­nor had un­lim­ited author­ity to choose a re­place­ment for ei­ther po­si­tion.

The mea­sure was pro­posed by Demo­cratic law­mak­ers and passed both houses of the Gen­eral Assem­bly along party lines.

The state GOP op­posed the amend­ment be­cause it saw it as an at­tempt by Democrats to pre­vent Gov. Larry Ho­gan from nam­ing a Repub­li­can to ei­ther post if it were to be­come va­cant on his watch. How­ever, the party did not make it a pri­or­ity to op­pose the mea­sure.

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