Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Washington Post: Virginia Attorney General Race Should End with Recount

A number of posts on this blog have looked at the conjecture that failed GOP candidate Mark Obenshain might try to steal the Attorney General Race by throwing the contest into the GOP dominated Virginia General Assembly.  Even conservative Bearing Drift blog has opposed such a move as have numerous newspaper editorials around Virginia.  The Washington Post has joined this list as the first day of the recount saw Mark Herring's lead increase.  Here are editorial highlights:

A RECOUNT is under way to determine the winner of last month’s stupefyingly tight election for attorney general in Virginia. Whether the victor is state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun) or state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), both men should declare now, before results are announced by week’s end, that they will respect the outcome.

That seems so modest a proposition that we are abashed at having to argue its merits. It amounts to embracing the idea that candidates must respect the will of the voters, a convention sanctified by U.S. history, tradition, consensus and law.

Mr. Obenshain trailed Mr. Herring by 165 votes (out of 2.2 million cast) when the State Board of Elections certified the results on Nov. 25; that margin widened Monday, the first day of the recount, to 185 after a fraction of the ballots were reviewed. The trouble is that Mr. Obenshain has maneuvered to leave himself wiggle room for a challenge even if the recount confirms that he has lost. That would be a gross error.

If the General Assembly were to overturn the result of the recount in the absence of egregious evidence of fraud or malfeasance, it would amount to the nullification of the democratic process. That would be so whether it was done by the Republicans, who now control the legislature, or the Democrats, who have controlled it in the recent past and may again in the future.

No evidence supports his insinuations. There is no sign that oddities cited by the Obenshain camp — some ballots submitted late to the clerk’s office; others cast by voters who went to the wrong polling station or showed up without identification — amount to anything approaching electoral fraud or wrongdoing. To all appearances, the Republicans have been picking at nits. That’s par for the course in any recount. What’s important, though, is that the recount, once finished, should be the final word.

The big problem today is that the GOP no longer believes in democracy.  Instead, its base of extremists, religious zealots and white supremacists want to impose their toxic beliefs and policies on all citizens.  It is a frightening development.  

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