Gubernatorial Incapacity and Succession Provisions

Very rarely are living governors replaced because of incapacity. The infrequency of such events is no excuse for ambiguous resolution mechanisms; yet, several states have gaps in their legal provisions. Clarity in the grounds and procedures for replacing a governor who can no longer perform the duties of office is difficult to achieve, but the alternative is to flirt with avertable crises. Below we highlight which states seem remiss, and we catalogue some pertinent issues, without endorsing any one model as the optimal approach to this knotty question.

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About the Authors
Brian J. Gaines is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has served as a consultant for two Canadian Royal Commissions and for Polimetrix, Inc. Brian D. Roberts is an assistant professor of Political Science and the director of the Cox School of Government at Principia College. From 1991 to 1994, he served as the director of research for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.