Richland County GOP should respect desire for accuracy in election results
It’s been almost a week since Election Day and in the wake of such a heated night, some are relieved to be getting back to life as usual. For many officials in Richland County, however, that wish is still not quite a reality.
The source of this weeklong headache traces all the way back to Election Day itself. During voting, there were reports of voters having to wait in line for seven hours. Many voters were forced to leave without casting a vote, having their voices silenced by the voting committee’s inefficiencies, and this was only the beginning. Throughout the day, Democrat Joe McCulloch held a strong lead on Republican Kirkman Finlay, but a winner had yet to be named when polls closed that night. Twenty-four hours later, Finlay was named the winner, and 24 hours after that Democrats were granted a recount by Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning. Not even 24 hours after that, when the recount was close to finishing, the Republicans challenged the decision, asking for it to cease.
Here we are. One week later, waiting on the results other counties, states and even the entire country were able to produce over the course of a single night. Granted, the infamous Florida recount took roughly one month to sort out, but that was an entire state. This is just one county.
It’s not as if the problems that plagued the Richland voting process were unable to be prevented either. Polling stations and organizers had complained about not having enough electronic stations, and many of them were not operating correctly. An on-site technician, or even a few more polling stations, would have eased the process. What’s more, in swing states like Colorado, Obama’s ground team went to crowded polling sites and directed voters to relatively empty sites nearby to make sure every vote possible was cast. A non-partisan organization doing the same in other states would have solved many of the problems.
A second solution to this weeklong struggle is for both political parties to avoid the notorious gridlock. In a clean election, sometimes a recount is unnecessary and only holds things up, but when an election encounters enough problems and overall clutter, double-checking the tally is necessary. A reasonable person should put aside their party affiliations, even if the first count has shown their party as the winner, and wish the true answer to prevail. A reasonable person can see, given the numerous issues and discrepancies on this Election Day, a recount is needed. What is not needed is the then-winning party attempting to block the recount process for fear of their win not being truly deserved and ultimately holding up the process even longer.
Sometimes things don’t go ideally, but everyone must do everything they can to ensure 100-percent certainty. In times like these, it is always better to follow the age-old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.”