Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate announced this afternoon that State Senator Mike Folmer has resigned his office.
“We are sickened and disturbed by the charges brought against Mike Folmer yesterday,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Senate District 25) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Senate District 34). “We have reviewed the criminal complaint and spoke with Mike Folmer early this morning to insist on his resignation from the Senate.”
“We are in receipt of his letter of resignation and the 48th Senatorial District seat is now vacant.”
Now that Folmer has resigned in the wake of the charges, someone will have to fill out his term, which expires in 2022.
Pennsylvania law requires a special election to fill the vacancy.
The procedure requires the presiding officer of the State Senate, who is Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, to “issue a writ of election to the proper county board or boards of election and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth” to conduct an election “at the next ensuing primary, municipal or general election scheduled at least sixty (60) days after the issuance of the writ.”
Since the next scheduled election is Tuesday, November 5, less than 60 days away, the vacancy created by Folmer’s resignation cannot be filled then.
According to Lebanon County Director of Elections/Voter Registration Mike Anderson, the next regularly scheduled local election will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
The procedure could be expedited. The presiding officer of the Senate can call such an election at “such other earlier date [than the next regularly scheduled election] which is at least sixty (60) days following the issuance of the writ as the presiding officer may deem appropriate.”
And, after the “writ of election” is issued, the governor has the option to call for an “extraordinary session” to issue a writ of election at an earlier date.
In any event, a special election could not be scheduled in less than 60 days.