Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is asking for the Montana Legislature to change the way the state fills vacancies when a U.S. Senator representing Montana leaves office before a term ends. Right now, such a vacancy would be filled by a gubernatorial appointment.

"This is the third session that I've had a bill on U.S. Senate vacancies and it would actually make U.S. Senate vacancies follow the same procedure that U.S. congressional vacancies follow, which is to have a special election. The general rule is that a special election would be held between 85 and 100 days from the day that the vacancy occurs."

McCulloch believes the current process of investing appointment power in the Governor puts unnecessary responsibilities on a political figure.

"I've never believed that a politician should be put in the position to have to choose another politician to represent Montana in Congress," McCulloch said. "I just think that the Montana voters are the best people to count on for that."

Just last year, Montana dealt with a senate vacancy when Senator Max Baucus became the U.S. Ambassador to China. Baucus was replaced by interim senator John Walsh via a Governor’s appointment, a process that received much criticism by both Republicans and Democrats.

Linda McCulloch: