Republican lawmakers in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives called for legislation this week that would create a special election in May to allow voters to pick a permanent replacement for the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.

Senator Tim Bivins explained that although it has been portrayed that Illinois voters do not have the option of picking a new senator—unless Senator Roland Burris resigns or is removed—the United States Constitution and Illinois election law clearly delineate that the appointment made by the former Governor was a temporary  appointment. In fact, as Republican lawmakers pointed out, there is nothing prohibiting lawmakers from scheduling a special election to select a permanent replacement; they would only need to change the state statue to set the date for the special election.

The legislators advocated for the consideration and passage of Senate Bill 285, which designates an April primary and a May general election. The measure could be heard as early as next week in the Senate Executive Committee.

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