Constitutional Amendment Authorizes Special Election To Fill County Executive Vacancy

A constitutional amendment to be included on the statewide ballot in November would authorize charter counties to fill  a vacancy in the office of county executive through a special election. As reported by the Gazette, the momentum behind this initiative started in Montgomery County with Councilman George Leventhal.

While the county has a clear process for replacing those who resign or die while in office, Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park said he noticed that the process for replacing a council member differs from replacing a county executive.

What began as idle speculation on Leventhal’s part about making the processes uniform became the catalyst for one of two ballot questions Maryland voters will answer when they visit the polls on Nov. 4.

Under current law, a charter county may only hold a special election to replace a council member.

According to the State Board of Elections, voters will be asked if they are in favor of authorizing charter counties to provide for special elections to fill a vacancy in the office of chief executive officer or county executive and exempting a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of chief executive officer or county executive of a charter county from the constitutional requirement that elections for state and county officers be held on a specified four-year cycle.

The amendment does not mandate  a charter county to hold a special election for the office of county executive.  It would give the charter county the authority to do so if they wished to fill the vacancy in that manner.

MACo supported HB 1415 (Ch. 261, Acts of 2014)  which provided for the constitutional amendment.


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