Gail Bailey should step down as the Long Reach village representative to the Columbia Council.
Village officials have determined that the April 24 election, which proclaimed victory for Mrs. Bailey, was conducted incorrectly. Specifically, the ballots cast by two apartment owners, who claimed they were voting for their tenants, should not have been counted.
The Long Reach village group has recommend that a special election be held to determine the outcome once and for all.
But Roy Lyons, Mrs. Bailey's challenger, said he won the election the first time, and that a recount of that vote is all that's necessary. He won the most residents' ballots, but was outvoted after the two apartment owners submitted multiple ballots.
We agree with Mr. Lyons. He is the rightful winner of the election and should not be put through the ordeal of another campaign.
The only rationale for another election in Long Reach would be to allow Mrs. Bailey, a three-term incumbent, a last chance at saving face. But protecting a candidate's pride is no reason to hold election after election. When would it end? How about the best two out of three?
The problem with the Long Reach election was that it failed to hold to the democratic principles most Americans expect.
Mr. Lyons entered the race anticipating in good faith that the popular vote would carry the day. He won that popular vote. What was so appalling about the election was that the two apartment owners presumed to cast ballots on behalf of their tenants, who were never consulted as to their preferences.
Mrs. Bailey is well aware that the Columbia Association has much work to be done on the direction the city should take on the issue of governance. The fundamental question is whether the council should operate strictly as a corporate board of directors for the Columbia Association, or in a more traditional town government role, which could involve anything from incorporating the town to the less drastic step of electing a mayor or appointing a city manager.
At the very least, the council election should involve the basic principle of one person, one vote. Mrs. Bailey has the power to set Columbia's government on a proper course -- and save face as well. She needs to step aside.