• Change in Sen. vacancy law led to Mass. elections


    BOSTON (AP) - A 2004 change in state law is behind the fact that Massachusetts could hold its second special election for the U.S. Senate in less than four years should Sen. John Kerry be confirmed as secretary of state.

    Before 2004, the state's governor appointed someone to fill a vacancy until the next regularly scheduled state election. But after Kerry secured the Democratic presidential nomination that year, the Democratic-controlled Legislature changed the law to block Republican Gov. Mitt Romney from naming a member of his own party to fill Kerry's seat had he won the White House.

    The law requires a special election to be held within 145 to 160 days of a Senate vacancy.

    Massachusetts is among 14 states that require special elections for Senate vacancies. Other states governors appoint successors.

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