Delaware 105.9 Blog: Allan Loudell

Kent County Recorder of Deeds: Why not settle this race with the flip of a coin?

Have you been following the saga of the seemingly never-ending race for Kent County Recorder of Deeds?

Seems like every count has produced a different result, with the losing party crying foul.

Then a painstaking manual recount of absentee ballots produced a tie between incumbent Democrat Betty Lou McKenna and her Republican challenger La Marr Gunn.

A superior court judge declared the position vacant; Governor Markell gets to decide the outcome when that seat becomes vacant; and Gunn is appealing the decision to declare the seat vacant. Naturally.

(The Delaware G.O.P. is challenging the validity of a single absentee ballot, saying that voter's intention was unclear.)

I asked Governor Markell's office for a response, and this is what I received overnight:

"The Governor received today's court order declaring a tie, which Mr. Gunn has appealed to the Supreme Court. The Governor believes it is appropriate to give the Supreme Court reasonable time to consider Mr. Gunn's appeal. If the Governor breaks the tie, he will appoint the incumbent, Ms. McKenna, to the post."

Frankly, I'm a little surprised the governor has already shown his cards, indicating he'd automatically keep McKenna in the post -- although we all know that's what he'd do; it would be unthinkable for any governor to appoint the opposite party's candidate, unless the incumbent were mired in the worst possible scandal.

To hold a special election doesn't make sense (but it would cost many dollars). Not only would the turn-out be abysmal, it would reflect even less the will of the people, assuming there's any 'real' will of the people in such a low-profile race.

What would happen if the governor just settled it all with the flip of a big dollar coin -- like one of the old Ike dollars -- with all the parties present in his office? Ain't gonna happen, but it just seems to be the most fair.

Meanwhile, this episode underscores why our elected officials should really took a long look at the wisdom of elections for lowly row offices, where the overwhelming majority of voters don't have a clue about the candidates.

Posted at 9:17am on December 31, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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