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House committee approves DC special election bill

Tuesday - 2/7/2012, 6:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A House committee has approved a bill that would give the District of Columbia more flexibility about when to hold special elections for local office.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district's representative in Congress. It was prompted in part by the upcoming special election to replace Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., who resigned after pleading guilty to embezzling government funds. Norton says the election will cost taxpayers more than $300,000.

Under current law, the district must hold a special election 114 days after a vacancy is declared. Norton's bill would give the district a window between 70 days and 174 days, making it more likely that special elections could be held on previously scheduled election dates.

The committee approved the bill Tuesday with Republican support.

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