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West Virginia Attorney General Disagrees with Secretary of State on Byrd Vacancy

           The West Virginia Attorney General has issued this opinion rejecting the Secretary of State’s legal conclusion that a special election to fill the Byrd vacancy cannot be held until November 2012.  The Attorney General’s reasoning is essentially the same as what I suggested in these prior posts (see here and here), namely that the West Virginia legislature’s evident intent to require a special election when to fill a vacancy with an unexpired term of more than two years and six months, combined with the Seventeenth Amendment’s purpose of ensuring popular election of Senators, requires reading the ambiguous provisions of West Virginia law so as to allow the calling of a special election as soon as possible.  The Attorney General also distinguishes the Robb v. Caperton case on the grounds that it dealt solely with state judicial offices.

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