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Session Laws, 1971
Volume 707, Page 1892   View pdf image
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1892                                      Vetoes

166, signed by you as an emergency bill on February 24, 1971, to
provide for the filling of Congressional vacancies by special election)
to accomplish several things: first, to provide that, if the vacancy
occurs within a stated period of time prior to or following a regularly
scheduled, statewide primary election, the Governor must by proclam-
ation declare that the vacancy will be filled at the regular primary and
regular general elections rather than at a special primary and a special
general election; second, that the successful candidate at the regular
general election "shall assume the duties of Representative in Congress
on the date of his election and shall fill the vacancy from that date
forth"; and, third, that, if the regular statewide primary election date
is rescheduled so as to occur more than four months prior to the
regular general election and a vacancy occurs within sixty days prior
to said primary election date, a special election must be called by the
Governor. You now ask our comments upon the legal effect of that
part of the bill which relates to the commencement of the term of the

Amendment XX, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United
State provides that the term of a Representative in Congress shall
begin on the third day of January, at which time the term of his pred-
ecessor shall also expire. Where a vacancy has occurred during the
term of a Congressman and a special election is held to fill that
vacancy, it is self-evident that the Twentieth Amendment does not
require the successful candidate to await January 3rd of the year in
which his predecessor's term would have ended, before taking office.
The successful candidate simply fills out the balance of the term of his

When, however, the special election to complete the balance of an
unexpired term is held simulanteously, as apparently is contemplated
by the sponsor of this bill, with the regularly scheduled general elec-
tion to fill the next succeeding term, serious complications arise. The
bill does not provide for notice to be given to the voters of the dual
impact of such an election nor does it specify, as would be logical and
legally proper, that the face of the ballot used in the district must pro-
vide the voter with an opportunity to cast two votes, one for the un-
expired term and one for the forthcoming term. Conceivably wholly
different candidates could be involved in the two simultaneous elec-

We believe that, on this particular point, the above-captioned bill
is incomplete and that a carrying out of its principles could result in
severe voter confusion and administrative chaos.

Very truly yours,

/s/ Francis B. Burch,

Attorney General.

Senate Bill No. 578—Highway Connections Requiring Legislative


AN ACT to add new Section 162B to Article 89B of the Annotated
Code of Maryland (1969 Replacement Volume), title "State Roads,"
subtitle "Bonds, Notes or Other Evidence of Indebtedness," subhead-


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Session Laws, 1971
Volume 707, Page 1892   View pdf image
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