On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, the taxpayers will pay poll workers to staff every polling place in Mississippi from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the federal primary election. It will not cost another dime to put the special election to replace U.S. Sen. Trent Lott on the ballot that day.
If a runoff is needed, it can be held three weeks later, on the same day scheduled for congressional primary runoffs.
Most of the work of the Congress in 2008 will be done between March and September. By delaying the election until Nov. 4, the governor is needlessly depriving the people of Mississippi of representation from a senator of their own choosing during that crucial eight-month period.
The authorization and appropriation of more than a trillion dollars will likely be voted upon by the new senator who serves during these months, not to mention grave matters of war and peace. The power to choose the senator who makes those decisions should be in the hands of all the voters, not just one man.
Rather than seek to keep that power for himself, the governor should exercise his responsibility with the greatest possible deference to the right of the people to choose their own senator.
Most people would agree that an appointed senator should not serve any longer than is necessary for the voters to have time to choose a replacement.
Gov. Haley Barbour should call the special senate election on the earliest available regularly scheduled election day: March 11.
Letter to the Editor