Who’s Afraid of Special Elections?


Who’s afraid of special elections? Republican governors, apparently.

Since the 2016 presidential elections, the Democrats have flipped 22 Republican seats and elected a Democrat, while the Republicans only have 3 flips. The energy has clearly been on the Democratic side, and that seems to have scared at least a few Republican governors.

In early January, a special election was held in Wisconsin, for a seat that had been Republican for two decades and in a district that Trump had won in a landslide. But then, the Democrat won. This flip sent shockwaves across Wisconsin, and nationally.

Shortly afterward, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made headlines when he decided he wasn’t going to hold special elections for two vacant Wisconsin state legislature seats, and instead was going to “wait” until the November midterm elections to fill those seats. This would have left the citizens of those districts without any representation for over a year.

So they sued. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, represented them in their lawsuit and yesterday, we learned that the judge ruled in the citizens favor. Barring any appeals or delays, Gov. Walker has to schedule the special elections by the end of next week, with the elections likely happening in the early summer.

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder isn’t holding a special election to fill former U.S. House representative John Conyers’ seat (who resigned this past December), and instead is waiting until the November midterms to fill it.

Now that the citizens of Wisconsin have gotten a verdict in their favor, perhaps the citizens of Michigan will follow suit. Having representation in government is a fundamental right of all U.S. citizens.

3/24 Update: Gov. Walker did not like the ruling so has asked the legislature to convene a special session to change the law. I’m calling it: Gov. Walker is a danger to democracy.

3/30 Update: Gov. Walker has scheduled the elections. They will take place on June 12. This is a big win for the citizens of Wisconsin!

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