Archived Story

Wagel wrong in objecting election recount

Published 12:48am Thursday, August 23, 2012

It’s understandable that Robert Wagel wants to hold onto his seat as Cass County commissioner. No one can fault him for that.

However, Wagel took that desire one step too far when he filed a petition opposing the recount of his narrow 562-560 win over Ed Goodman in the Aug. 7 primary race for the District 1 seat.

Goodman filed a petition for a recount Aug. 10. Human error could easily account for two or more votes, possibly changing the outcome of the election.

Cass County voters deserve to know the actual winner of the election, no matter who it is. For all we know, a recount could show Wagel winning by more than two votes, or Goodman winning by two votes, or that the first count was correct.

The point is, we don’t know.

By filing a petition to oppose the recount, Wagel is essentially telling Cass County voters they don’t deserve to know the true outcome of the election.

The county’s board of canvassers will ultimately decide if a recount takes place after hearing arguments from Wagel and Goodman today at the Cass County Courthouse Kincheloe Room.

If the board decides in favor of Goodman, a recount will be set at a later date.

A larger question, perhaps, is why is there a rule allowing candidates to file a petition opposing a recount at all?

The intent of the rule may have been to negate needless recounts, for example, if someone won 2,000 to 200. Human error couldn’t account for a gap that wide.

However, in the case of Wagel versus Goodman, a two-vote gap certainly warrants a recount, regardless of whether or not one candidate opposes it.

The rule needs to be changed. All close elections should be recounted if requested by one candidate.

We are told all the time that every vote counts. In this case, all the votes may not have been counted correctly. Or maybe they have.

The point, again, is we don’t know.

That’s why we need a recount of all close elections.

It’s time to change the rule.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

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