Board declines to hold special election in Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District
Relying on advice from the Oklahoma attorney general’s office, the board voted 3-0 to certify the results of this and all general election contests, with the exception of a judge’s race in which a recount is to be held.
The Oklahoma Democratic Party has called for a special election in the district, which covers most of rural eastern Oklahoma. Wallace Collins, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said the party would consider a lawsuit to challenge the board’s decision.
“We will pursue our legal options to this issue because we don’t think it’s being handled correctly,” Collins said. “I understand what they’re doing but I think they’ve been given bad advice.”
Collins said he thought Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a Republican, “was predisposed to giving the opinion that was given today.”
The attorney general’s office found that federal law applying to congressional races trumps a state law that allows for a special election in a case in which a candidate dies shortly before election day.
Federal law says the general election for U.S. representatives shall be on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November — or Nov. 4 this year. Therefore, to hold a special election on a different date, as envisioned in the state law, would be impermissible in this contest, the attorney general’s office said.
Federal law does allow a state to hold a special election for a congressional office on another date in the case of the death of the winner of the election, but in this case the person who died also lost the election.
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