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Tulsa World editorial: Why does Oklahoma’s attorney general want to interfere with how Pennsylvania counts votes?

Tulsa World editorial: Why does Oklahoma’s attorney general want to interfere with how Pennsylvania counts votes?

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We were disappointed to see that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter interjected his opinion in a court case challenging how and when Pennsylvania counts its ballots.

Frankly, Hunter has plenty to say grace over in Oklahoma and doesn’t need to get involved in how other states count votes.

The fact that he came down on the side of those seeking to block citizens from taking part in the presidential election makes it even worse.

Hunter was one of several Republican state attorneys general filing with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to a previous Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling. The Pennsylvania court had ruled that the state had to accept mailed ballots up to three days after the election.

Trump, Hunter and other GOP attorneys general argue that there was nothing wrong with a legislatively set Election Day deadline on mailed ballots.

The U.S. federal system lets state governments (which includes state courts) control the election process with the exception of specific civil rights issues specified in the Constitution. The deadline for mailed ballots in Pennsylvania isn’t a federal issue and it isn’t an Oklahoma issue. It is plainly not any of Hunter’s business.

If it were his business, we’d hope he’d be advocating to making sure citizens were allowed to vote, not prevented by partisan rules designed to benefit one candidate.

Sometimes we don’t know what to make of Hunter. He talks a good game, saying he wants to help keep the Legislature in legitimate constitutional bounds and the governor out of the destructive conflicts with Native American tribes, but then he goes to court to make it harder for Oklahomans to vote by absentee ballot and now wants to do the same in another state 1,300 miles away.

Some have criticized Hunter’s move as a waste of money, and whatever money goes into it is ill-spent.

But it’s really an opportunity cost. Hunter was using his time and that of his staff to position himself in a partisan dispute without any significant Oklahoma interests involved.

At a time when the state’s ability to prosecute crimes in half its territory and a bundle of other much more pressing issues are pending, Hunter’s filing is wasted time. It’s foolish and ultimately meaningless gamesmanship meant to burnish his partisan credentials, not serve the state of Oklahoma, and we expect more of him.

Just as we wouldn’t want Pennsylvanians messing with our elections, Oklahoma officials shouldn’t be interfering in theirs.


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