Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been ordered to "promptly" hold two special elections to fill seats that have been vacant since December, The Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds ruled that Walker, who was represented by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, misinterpreted the statute requiring that the governor call a special election for vacant seats, which Walker had argued only required a special election if the seat was vacated between Jan.1 and the second Tuesday in May in an election year.
"The defense's reading of the plain language of the statute flies in the face of reason and applicable statutory principles," Reynolds said, ruling that the law requires any vacancy that occurs before the second Tuesday in May in a regular election year must be filled "as promptly as possible by special election."
"Either one of the defense's interpretations leads to an absurd result," she said. "Defendant's reading creates a window of just four months in any two-year period in which special elections must be held and thus leaves open the possibility that residents of Wisconsin could go unrepresented for almost two years if any governor declined to issue an order calling for a special election."
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