A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected an attempt to force a special election to fill the seat of Gov. James E. McGreevey, who recently announced that he is gay and will step down November 15. The third U.S. circuit court of appeals upheld a lower court ruling that said no special election should be held because McGreevey has only stated his intention to resign and has not yet officially vacated the office.
"There is no vacancy here because the governor has not yet resigned and because he continues to serve and occupy the office," the appeals court said.
The lawsuit, filed by two Princeton lawyers, argued that McGreevey is depriving voters of their right to vote by staying in office until there is not time enough to schedule a special election. Under state law, if McGreevey had left office before September 3, a special election would have been called for November 2. But now senate president Richard J. Codey, a fellow Democrat, will succeed McGreevey as acting governor until the term expires in January 2006.