Special Election to Replace McCotter Until January 2013 Expected to Cost $650,000
The special election to replace Rep. Thaddeus McCotter cannot, because of timing, be held with the August primaries and will be pushed into September.
Following the resignation of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) last week, Gov. Rick Snyder has announced plans for a special primary and special election.
According to Michigan law, the governor must hold a special election to fill the vacated seat. A special election, according to Michigan law, requires a special primary. It will be held in September, the governor announced today.
During the November election, 11th Congressional District voters will be able to cast a ballot to pick the interim candidate who will fill McCotter's seat until it expires in January 2013. They will also pick the winner of the general election who will take over the next full term.
State election officials estimate the cost of the special election to total $650,000 for the impacted local and county governments, according to a press release.
"The lieutenant governor's strong preference is to save local tax dollars and spare election officials a significant burden by conducting the special primary election in conjunction with the regularly scheduled Aug. 7 primary," said a press release from the governor's office. "However, the timing of McCotter's resignation makes that impossible. Primary ballots already were printed and absentee ballots were mailed when McCotter made his announcement. In addition, ballots must be sent to Michigan voters who are overseas or serving in the military at least 45 days before an election, which means the special primary election must be held on a different date than Aug. 7."
In the press release Lt. Gov. Brian Calley added, "It is extremely disappointing that the district is forced to have a special election that is neither cost-effective nor efficient. . .Taxpayers deserve better. But the requirement for the governor to call a special election in this situation is clear and we must do so in a way that establishes fair, realistic deadlines for candidates and election officials. We will move forward so that district residents have full representation in Congress for the remainder of the term. I have every confidence that the outstanding election officials throughout the district will get the job done in spite of this challenging timeline."
According to the press release: By issuing the call for a special election today, the governor's action allows candidates adequate time to collect the required 1,000 petition signatures for ballot access by Friday, July 20. This in turn allows local officials to print special ballots to send to military and overseas voters 45 days before the Sept. 5 special election.
Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. called the resignation and special election a burden and "not fair to the taxpayer.”
“The costs of this special election should not be dumped on the local governments and taxpayers of Oakland County. At a time when communities are making tough choices, they should not have to be in a position of considering laying off a firefighter or police officer due to the costs of holding an election to fill a seat in Congress for a matter of weeks," he said. “The complications involved in holding an election in the existing 11th district at the same time as the new district will be immense. In the past elections held with only federal questions questions have been reimbursed by the state government. I believe the state or federal government should be responsible for the cost of this special election.”
Last month, McCotter announced plans to mount a write-in campaign after his campaign failed to turn in the requisite 1,000 petitions needed to get on the GOP primary ballot. A subsequent review by the Michigan secretary of state's office found that only 200 to 300 of the 2,000 total ballots submitted by the five-term congressman's campaign were valid. A short time later, he said he would not seek reelection.
McCotter also organized a short-lived campaign for president last year, but ended the bid after failing to gain momentum in early primary states.