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  Appeals court ruling: Illinois should elect interim U.S. senator
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ContributorCOSDem 
Last EditedCOSDem  Jul 22, 2010 03:20pm
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CategoryLegal Ruling
News DateThursday, July 22, 2010 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionA federal appeals court ruling today makes it more likely that Illinois voters on Nov. 2 will decide on an interim U.S. senator who will serve just a few weeks in office, while also voting on a U.S. senator for a full six-year term that begins in January.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal for a rehearing by state officials who argued that it would be a logistical nightmare, as well as a costly and needless expense, to hold special elections to replace appointed Sen. Roland Burris with only eight weeks remaining until a new senator is inaugurated.

Burris was appointed to President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich just weeks after Blagojevich’s Dec. 9, 2008, arrest on federal corruption charges, including allegations he tried to sell the Senate vacancy for personal and political profit.

The court ruled that state election laws and timetables regarding special primary elections had to give way to the federal Constitution and that a federal court judge could order the state to disregard existing election laws.

The ruling effectively means that voters could see two U.S. Senate contests on the general election ballot: one to elect a senator to serve from Nov. 3 to Jan. 3 and one to elect a senator to serve from Jan. 3 for six years.
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