Sunday, October 17, 2004
Editorial: Also on the ballot: state constitutional changes
Voters would be wise to approve two proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution.
From the RoundTable blog
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One amendment addresses a potential problem we hope never occurs: a catastrophe so extensive that the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and speaker of the House of Delegates are all killed or incapacitated, and the House is unable to meet to elect an acting governor. The 9/11-inspired amendment retains that line of succession. But if all the above happens, including the inability of the House to meet, the amendment provides for the line of succession to continue, through 14 House committee chairs and then on to the president pro tem and majority leader of the state Senate.
The other amendment fixes a problem that already has occurred: the temporary disfranchisement of many voters when a special election is held between legislative redistricting and the next general election.
When former state Sen. Madison Marye of Shawsville retired midterm in 2001, for example, his successor was chosen in a special election from a new, Northern Virginia district - even though the rest of the Senate continued to represent old districts until the 2003 general election.
The amendment makes it clear that such special elections are to be held according to the old districting and that redistricting does not go into effect until it can be applied statewide.