Just what budget-crisis Pennsylvania doesn't need is another sore-loser judicial candidate who forces taxpayers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a fruitless vote recount. But Pittsburgh lawyer Barbara Ernsberger decided to be that candidate, demanding another look at the votes in her May 17 primary bid for the Democratic nomination for Commonwealth Court.
That was her right under state election law, as it was for Templeton Smith Jr., a Republican Superior Court candidate who in 2009 triggered the last statewide recount. Smith's failed bid cost the state an extra $542,000, and it's likely that Ernsberger's recount will also come in at six figures.
So, let's see: That could be about $250 for every one of the 2,116 votes by which Ernsberger's opponent, Doylestown lawyer Kathryn Boockvar, beat her.
The state clearly needs fewer sore losers and, perhaps, a change in the rules on recounts, which give challengers the right to demand one even if there's no evidence of irregularities.
What's particularly galling about the latest recount request is that Ernsberger didn't even pass muster with the Pennsylvania Bar Association, which gave her its "not recommended" rating. Given such poor credentials for the job, voters shouldn't have even been asked to entertain Ernsberger's judicial ambitions, and now taxpayers also must pay for the recount she demanded.