The Incumbent Protection Act

While a change in the election law may be at hand to fill the seat of the late Senator Byrd I would like to urge “The Incumbent Protection Act” be amended.  That is my name for how vacancies in nominations are filled (Section 3-5-19).

Current law says if no one files for an office or withdraws after the filing period the political parties can only appoint a candidate “no later than thirty days after the last day to file a certificate of announcement….”  This is not fair to either party or to our citizens.

To me the law was written to protect incumbents from both parties at the state and local level.  Incumbents normally have the advantage in a primary and come out successful.  I recall years ago political parties had an opportunity after the spring primary to place candidates on the ballot before the November election. 

We should return to this approach.  Circumstances changes after a primary… new people emerge, new issues develop and the office in question may benefit from a candidate possessing different qualifications. 

There is nothing more important than the two party system.  A change in this law will benefit that system, provide a greater choice to voters and likely strengthen the local political committees

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