Senate vacancies should be filled by special elections, Common Cause tells Congress

Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar testified Wednesday before a joint House and Senate Judiciary panel in support of a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that would require that states hold elections to fill Senate vacancies.

“We believe the Constitution should be amended rarely and with great care, but election of our representatives in Congress is one of those issues that crosses that threshold,” Edgar told the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties.

In the wake of the 2008 elections, which saw multiple governors making appointments to fill Senate vacancies – Illinois, New York, Delaware, among them — Edgar said: “Our democracy is based on elections, not selections by a single person. Now is the time to address this issue, while the problems of the status quo are so apparent. We cannot simply wait for the next Senate vacancy and hope that the governor making the appointment will act with honor and transparency in naming someone to represent that state in the U.S. Senate. This proposed constitutional amendment will help ensure that a fundamental tenet of our democracy – that the will of the people is most effectively made known through elections of their representatives – is adhered to in the selection of the members of the U.S. Senate.”

Click here to read Edgar’s full testimony in support of S J. Res. 7 and H. J. Res. 2.