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010815CM0326SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved a plan Thursday creating a special election that would let voters select a comptroller to finish the term Judy Baar Topinka would have held until 2019.

State Senator James Clayborne (D-Belleville) voted for the special election.

“Letting voters decide on this vacancy is the most sensible solution, elected officials ought to be elected,” Clayborne said.

After Topinka’s death, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Jerry Stermer to fill the vacancy until Topinka’s current term expires Jan. 12. Earlier this week, Governor-elect Bruce Rauner announced he will appoint former Unilever executive Leslie Munger once Rauner takes office.

Under the legislation, if the position of comptroller, attorney general, secretary of state or treasurer becomes vacant with more than 28 months remaining in the term, the governor can appoint a successor to serve through the first half of the four-year term.

The special election would coincide with the next regularly scheduled general election, in this case Nov. 8, 2016. During that election, voters can choose who will serve the remaining two years of the term.

This process is similar to the way Senate vacancies are filled.

The legislation, HB 4576, was approved by a 37-15 vote; it now goes to the House for approval.