"We really shouldn't worry about the cost when we're talking about putting the right person in Washington to represent all of us," Guills said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall -- who has been adamant about the need for the special primary -- said elections are one of the costs of living in a democracy, as opposed to a totalitarian regime or a monarchy.
Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, concurred. "What cost do we place on liberty? What cost do we place on democracy?" said Oliverio, who is running for Congress in the state's 1st District.
The bill passed, with Bowman casting the lone "no" vote.
Before the vote, the Senate amended out a potentially unconstitutional provision in the bill that would have required state Senate confirmation of any temporary appointees to U.S. Senate vacancies.
The bill will be up for amendment in the House of Delegates Saturday, where delegates will try to reconcile it with the House's version of the senatorial succession legislation (HB201).
Unlike the Senate bill, which sets out guidelines for all future special elections to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate, the House bill is strictly limited to provisions for electing Byrd's successor this year.
Both bills provide for an Aug. 28 special primary and Nov. 2 special election, although the House bill contains a provision to waive the primary election, if only one candidate files for the party's nomination.
The Senate removed the waiver provision from its bill, at the behest of Kessler, who worried that the waiver provision would have a "chilling effect." It could keep challengers from filing to run against a party favorite, since they could be accused of wasting taxpayer dollars by forcing the special primary election, he said.
Both the House and Senate bills specify that any costs for special elections will be borne by the state, not by the counties.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.