Leave Election Up to the Voters

No election planning is foolproof. No election is held without at least a few difficulties. Usually they do not affect the outcome.

But increasingly during recent years, political parties and their candidates have seized on any problem they can find in order to declare that the election was “stolen.”

According to The Associated Press, the Democratic Party already has recruited about 7,000 lawyers and has plans to deploy them to all 50 states. That will be done in advance of the Nov. 4 election. The AP has been unable to determine how the Republican Party plans to counter that.

So worried are some election officials that they already are trying to convince the lawyers and candidates to be restrained in their litigiousness.

Ohio is expected to be a battleground state in this year’s presidential election. That will not be an unfamiliar situation for Buckeye State residents. Neither will courtroom challenges to the election process.

State officials are so concerned about the outlook for a blizzard of lawsuits is that they met last month with what the AP referred to as “more than 75 legal experts” to discuss the matter. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Attorney General Nancy Rogers attempted to convince those at the meeting not to file lawsuits that would hamper, rather than help, the election process.

We wish them lots of luck on that. Obviously, litigation – often frivolous – has become as important as stump speeches to some candidates.

Ohioans need to remember that the nuts and bolts of balloting are controlled by bipartisan county boards of elections. Both Democrats and Republicans are represented.

And for Democrats, it will not be possible this year to claim, as was the case in 2004, that the secretary of state is manipulating an election against them. In 2004, that post was held by a Republican. This year it is occupied by Brunner, a Democrat.

We join Brunner and Rogers in urging both sides to restrain their attorneys. But we also urge judges hearing election-related lawsuits to exercise as much common sense as the law allows. This election should be decided by voters – who shouldn’t put up with sore losers.