Change the law to allow for an easier replacement of the state Auditor, who has gone on leave to fight federal charges for past business practices,

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IF State Auditor Troy Kelley won’t voluntarily resign, the Legislature should take a few moments in the special session to give him a good hard shove.

Impeachment of Kelley, who has been charged with federal tax fraud, remains an option. So does a recall petition.

But the cleanest method to oust Kelley may be a 25-word change to the state’s legal definition of “vacancy” in an elected office. The law currently lists death, resignation, a felony criminal conviction and a few others as reasons that an elected official can be replaced.

Two House Republicans, Reps. Drew Stokesbary of Auburn and Drew MacEwan of Union, would add to that list “a declared leave of absence” for anything other than military obligations or “medical or health-related reasons.”

The bill, HB 2249, doesn’t yet have a hearing scheduled, and it may be tough for it to get traction as the special legislative session is rightly focused on writing a state budget.

But Kelley’s brazen refusal to resign — ignoring the advice of every other statewide elected official — forces the Legislature’s hand. The bill would deal with the unique problem of Troy Kelley far more quickly than an impeachment process, or a months-long recall, and allow Gov. Jay Insee to appoint a replacement.

The bill should be vetted to ensure it applies narrowly. If it is, it should get an appropriate official name: The Troy Kelley Dismissal Act.