052714CM0950SPRINGFIELD – When voters go to the polls in November 2016 they could be picking who should finish the term that former Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka would have held until 2019.

The Illinois Senate approved a plan Thursday creating a special election that coincides with next year’s general election to let voters select a comptroller.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) voted for the special election.

“This legislation is about giving people the opportunity to elect their own officials. This law empowers voters and creates a way to address future vacancies,” Cullerton said.

Last month, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Jerry Stermer to serve as comptroller until Topinka’s current term expires Jan. 12. Governor-elect Bruce Rauner announced earlier this week 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.

A 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.