When a vacancy shall occur in the office of sheriff of any county, other than by expiration of term, the Governor shall fill such vacancy with the advice and consent of the Senate by appointment of a member of the same political party as that of the previous incumbent of the office, and the commission of said appointee shall expire when a successor is elected and qualified. The successor in such case shall be elected for a term of 3 years at the general election next succeeding the happening of the vacancy unless such vacancy shall occur within 37 days next preceding such election, in which case it shall be filled at the second succeeding general election.

      L.1971, c. 200, s. 1, eff. July 1, 1971.