Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

May 30, 2014

OUR VIEW: Recount an appropriate step in Judge-Executive primary race

GLASGOW — We wrote in previous editorials of our belief that 2014 is a pivotal election year for Barren County government. We encouraged residents to participate in this month’s primary, and more than 30 percent of Barren’s eligible voters went to the polls – not a tremendous number, but better than many primary turnouts.

Since May 20, headlines have been dominated by the unusually tight result in the Democratic primary for Barren County judge-executive. After a recanvass Thursday confirmed the apparent winner, Micheal Hale, holds a three-vote edge over Bud Tarry and a 16-vote cushion over Chris Steward, Steward filed a lawsuit to initiate the more intensive recount process.

It’s tempting for citizens to take the cynical route and call Steward a sore loser, especially after the Barren County Clerk’s Office has twice carefully tabulated the election-night totals and produced the same result.

That temptation, though, should be avoided. The recount procedure exists in order to ensure to voters that election results are solid, and Steward is within his rights to start the process. We’re glad he did so, because Barren County needs to enter November’s general election as certain as possible about the legitimacy of the ballot. County Clerk Joanne London’s office has deftly handled a close election night and subsequent recanvass, and we are confident the county’s oversight of the recount will be equally steady.

Some of Steward’s campaign approaches might not sit well with everyone – he has acknowledged multiple times that he puts particular effort into assisting elderly or disabled voters with mail-in absentee ballots, although he says he does not ask anyone to vote for him – but at this point, the candidates’ methods are moot. The votes have been cast. We now need to be certain they have been counted correctly.

Would we prefer to put the primary election behind us? Absolutely. But in light of the narrow separation between the top three candidates in this race, the recount is an appropriate step. We are eager to learn – and accept – the ultimate outcome, and we hope the candidates are as well.

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