Montana Code Annotated 2013

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     5-2-402. Appointment by board of county commissioners -- county central committee role -- timeframes. (1) Except as provided in subsection (5) or as otherwise provided by law, whenever a vacancy occurs in the legislature, the vacancy must be filled by appointment by the board of county commissioners or, in the event of a multicounty district, the boards of county commissioners of the counties comprising the district sitting as one appointing board.
     (2) (a) Whenever a vacancy is within a single county, the board of county commissioners shall make the appointment as described in 5-2-403, 5-2-404, or 5-2-406.
     (b) Whenever a vacancy is within a multicounty district, the boards of county commissioners shall sit as one appointing board. The selection of an individual to fill the vacancy must be as follows:
     (i) The presiding officer of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the person resided whose vacancy is to be filled shall call a meeting for the purpose of appointing the member of the legislature and shall preside at the meeting.
     (ii) Each commissioner's vote is determined by the following formula: 100 multiplied by (A divided by B) multiplied by (1 divided by C), where:
     (A) A is the total votes cast in the respective county for the person vacating the legislative seat or, if the vacating person was not elected, the votes cast for the last person to be elected for the current term;
     (B) B is the total votes cast for that person in the legislative district; and
     (C) C is the number of authorized commissioners on the board of the commissioner whose vote is being determined.
     (iii) The person selected to fill the vacancy is the one who receives the highest number above 50 that results from the calculation in subsection (2)(b)(ii). If none of the candidates receives a number higher than 50 from that calculation, the selection board shall cast its votes again in the same manner for the persons receiving the two highest numbers. If neither vote results in a candidate receiving a number higher than 50 from the calculation provided in subsection (2)(b)(ii), then 5-2-404 applies.
     (c) If a vacancy occurs in a holdover senate seat after holdover senators have been assigned to new districts under each reapportionment, the formula in subsection (2)(b)(ii) must be applied using the votes cast for the senatorial candidates at the last election in which votes were cast for a senate candidate. Only the number of votes cast by electors residing in the new senate district for senate candidates of the party to which the person vacating the seat belonged may be counted. The secretary of state shall provide an estimate of the number of votes cast for each party by county or portion of a county. The selection process is the same as provided in subsection (2)(b)(iii).
     (3) The appointment process to fill a vacant legislative seat under this section is as follows:
     (a) Within 7 days of being notified of a vacancy as described in 2-16-501, the secretary of state shall notify the board of county commissioners and the state party that is responsible for notifying the county central committee of the county where the vacating legislator is a resident, if the legislative seat is within one county, or the boards of county commissioners and the corresponding county central committees if the legislative seat is in a multicounty district. If the legislator is an independent or belongs to a party for which there is no county central committee, the notification of county commissioners suffices.
     (b) The county central committee or committees, upon receipt of notification of a vacancy, have 45 days to propose a list of prospective appointees, pursuant to 5-2-403(1). The county central committee or the county central committees, acting together, shall forward the list of names to the appointing board within the 45-day period.
     (c) The appointing board shall make and confirm an appointment and notify the secretary of state within 15 days:
     (i) after receiving the list of prospective appointees from the county central committee or committees;
     (ii) after 45 days have expired after the notification of vacancy if the county central committee or committees have not provided a list of prospective appointees; or
     (iii) after notification of a vacancy if the legislator vacating the seat is an independent.
     (4) If the legislature is in session, the notification process in subsection (3)(a) must be followed within 5 days. The process described in subsection (3)(b) must take place in 5 days. The process described in subsection (3)(c) must take place in 5 days.
     (5) Notwithstanding subsection (6), if a vacancy occurs prior to a primary election, 13-10-326 applies. If a vacancy occurs after a primary and prior to a general election, 13-10-327 applies.
     (6) If the legislature is called into special session within 85 days of a general election, a person must be appointed to fill a legislative vacancy pursuant to subsections (1) through (4).

     History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 179, L. 1967; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 198, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 43-215(1), (2), (6); amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 493, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 336, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 336, L. 2013.

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