While the nation struggles to come to terms with Florida's controversial counts on the presidential race, Edgefield County has a voting controversy of its very own.
Republican County Council candidate Tim Padgett claims he was robbed and wants a revote. Padgett lost the District 2 seat, encompassing the city of Edgefield, to Democrat Bill Vaughan, 756 votes to 734. That 22-vote margin looks big compared to the four-vote margin George W. Bush had at one time in New Mexico's vote count.
Padgett makes a solid case for a new vote if the formal protest he filed with the county Election Commission holds up. He says he has evidence that some District 2 polling places didn't have the Padgett-Vaughan race on the ballot while other polling places outside of the district did.
He says he's got witnesses to back him up - voters who looked for his name on the ballot, but couldn't find it. In fact, these voters were the ones who drew the ballot foul-up to Padgett's attention.
Padgett says he can easily erase the 22 vote deficit by finding at least that many people who would have voted for him if they had been given the right ballot.
The problem here isn't voters' confusion or failure to properly punch the ballot, as seems to be the case in Florida. The confusion lies with the Edgefield County Board of Voter Registration which apparently didn't understand District 2's boundaries.
Under those circumstances, it would be a travesty of the democratic process if the district wasn't granted a revote. We just wish it could be that clearcut in Florida.
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