State needs common sense politics

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We understand and appreciate Alabama Secretary of State Chapman’s genuine desire to “get it right” in dealing with the unprecedented Republican primary runoff facing Alabama voters on July 13. In certifying the election results quickly despite a pending recount of the ballots, Chapman was working to make certain absentee voters, such as those serving in the military overseas, have an opportunity to vote.

Chapman faced a difficult decision, with a runoff looming for choosing the GOP gubernatorial nominee and a recount certain because two hopefuls in that runoff are separated by fewer than 200 votes.

Chapman had no choice but to seek legal opinion on the matter from the state’s attorney general, Troy King.

King’s opinion is that, despite a recount that could change the vote count and potentially leave James with the second-most votes and a right to face Byrne in a runoff, Bentley should face Byrne because the election results have already been certified.

If a recount shows Bentley did earn the second-most votes in the primary, the question is moot. However, if James comes out ahead of Bentley in the recount, the taxpayers of Alabama could face a very expensive second runoff election and years’ worth of legal fights.

That just doesn’t make sense. Surely, the recent primary election results can and should be de-certified, or some other similarly rational approach can be found. What’s in the best interest for the state, its people and those candidates vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination is for a more common sense solution to be found.

King’s opinion on this matter, as has been the case with some of his past opinions, does not pass the litmus test of common sense.

Our state and its elected officials are dealing in unprecedented waters, and those waters are muddy to say the least. But in all the confusion that surrounds the pending recount and possible costly legal quagmire that may follow, one thing is clear: voters in Alabama got it right earlier this month in not re-electing Troy King.