The 2011 Redistricting has led to a significant number of legislators who will be changing district numbers in the 2012 election. One interesting impact is in the State Senate, where the four year terms are likely to cause a number of vacancies as members jockey for their new districts. Although it’s still early to figure out exactly which legislators will end up running for which districts, one thing that we can figure out is when the special elections will be.
California’s election code says that Special General Elections (run-offs) are to be scheduled for a Tuesday between 112 and 126 days after the Governor calls the election. An extra two weeks of flex time is available because the Governor is given two weeks from the time of a vacancy to call the election.
Because Senators are unlikely to resign from their current Senate seats until after they’ve actually won the election to their new seats, the earliest that vacancies are likely to occur is the day after the 2012 General Election (which would be November 7th). The latest that a Senator is likely to resign their previous Senate seat is December 3rd, which is the first day of the new legislative session (the day they would be sworn into their new office).
If a Senator waits until December 3rd to resign their current Senate seat, and the Governor waits two weeks to call the special election, and then schedules it out as far as he can, the Special General would fall on April 16th and the Special Primary (which is 8 weeks before the General) would fall on March 12th .
If the Senator resigns on the first day after the general election (which would be November 7th), and the Governor called the election the same day, and scheduled it for as soon as possible, the Special General Election would fall on February 27th (and the primary would fall on New Years Day or Christmas). Therefore, the earliest we’re likely to see a Special Elections scheduled are March 5th (with a January 8th Special Primary).
2013 “First Round” Special Election Date Ranges
Vacancy: November 7th to December 3, 2012
Primary: January 8* to March 12, 2013
General (Run-off): March 5 to April 16, 2013
“Follow-up Special Elections” (resulting from Assemblymembers being elected to the Senate in Special Elections in the January to April range above would fall somewhere between March and September
2013 “Follow-up” Special Election Date Ranges
Vacancy: January 9th to April 30, 2013
Primary: March 12 to July 9, 2013
General (Run-off): May 7 to September 3, 2013