Monday, November 17, 2008

The 2008 election still is not over

Every election day is like Christmas to Democratic election attorney Mike Maistelman, and this year is no exception. Today the ballots are being recounted in the 47th Assembly District, Republican Keith Ripp and Democrat Trish O'Neil. Maistelman is representing O'Neil.

The Capital Times offers the opinion that recounts are good for democracy, and they mention the failure to have a recount in Florida in 2000 cast a shadow over Bush's legitimacy. I think there's some validity to that argument (although every media-conducted recount after the election using the standards Gore advocated still came up with Bush as the winner), but we need to look no further than the race for governor in Washington in 2004 to see why some might be uneasy about recounts.

One of the commenters on The Capital Times' website suggests a coin toss instead for close elections. I think that such an idea would not satisfy anyone, either. But we can take steps up front to ensure that the election results are as fair as possible. We can make sure that election procedures are followed, that the voter rolls are accurate, and that voters have a means to identify themselves. We must work harder to ensure ballot security. Election machines must be properly maintained to accurately count the votes.

Someday we may reach a point where a recount would be absolutely unnecessary. In the meantime, I think voters can be forgiven a little uneasiness.