Local option and voting machines
althouse at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Thu Dec 14 12:11:31 PST 2000
>I'm also puzzled why a person committed to local government would insist
>on the same standard for recounts. Obviously, localities can manipulate
>the standard. But so can the larger state. If there is manipulation, why
>not the decision be made by the most local group, closest to the people.
>Now I'm a great believer in uniform standards, prefer state to local and
>national to state. But many GOPer's aren't. Why the exception here?
>Mark A. Graber
>mgraber at gvpt.umd.edu
What seems most important is that a court become involved, setting itself
up at the top of the recount process. A decentralized system operating at
the county board level, with no overseer, is distinctly different and can
perhaps fairly be left to exercise discretion. But the court was in a
different position: it could have dictated procedures, safeguards, and
standards that would bind all particpants in the process. There was no
longer a decentralized process. So you could say: once there was a "brain"
at the top of a network of activity, that brain had a duty to control the
process so that like matters would be treated alike.
Here is the part of the per curiam opinion supports this view:
The question before the Court is not whether local entities,
in the exercise of their expertise, may develop different
systems for implementing elections. Instead, we are
presented with a situation where a state court with the
power to assure uniformity has ordered a statewide recount
with minimal procedural safeguards. When a court
orders a statewide remedy, there must be at least some
assurance that the rudimentary requirements of equal
treatment and fundamental fairness are satisfied.
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