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Plans set for judicial recount

May 25, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Vote totals for the top two candidates for the new Circuit Court judgeship did not change during a recount in Morgan County Thursday.

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On the same day, the Berkeley County Commissioners decided to conduct their own recount on Friday, June 2, at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse.

David Camilletti, who ran a close second to Gray Silver III in the Democratic primary for the seat, requested a recount in both counties. He is trying to make up a 31-vote deficit that has stood since all primary ballots, absentee ballots and challenged ballots were tallied.

Silver has 3,838 votes and Camilletti has 3,807.

Morgan County Clerk Ralph Shambaugh said Silver still had 502 votes and Camilletti 466 after Thursday's recount of paper ballots there.

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The third Democratic candidate, Patrick Henry, picked up four votes in Morgan County Thursday, increasing his total from 186 to 190, Shambaugh said.

Henry is more than 1,600 votes behind Silver and Camilletti overall.

Camilletti won Jefferson County by more than 1,000 votes and did not ask for a recount there.

In Berkeley County, Silver received 2,267 votes to Camilletti's 1,249.

As part of their recount, the Berkeley County Commissioners will check two random precincts by hand to see if they match the computer tabulations from the night of the May 9 primary, according to Jan Casto of the West Virginia Secretary of State's office.

Then the rest of the precincts will be recounted, one at a time. Berkeley County Clerk John Small said they will be run through the same computer used for the primary.

Casto said the candidate who asks for a recount can choose either a hand count or a computer count.

Only results of the Circuit Court race will be recounted.

According to election law, Silver can reserve his right by today to also ask for a recount. He has 24 hours after being served with the notice of the recount to preserve that right. He was served in Morgan County Thursday.

Casto explained that the first candidate, in this case Camilletti, could stop the recount at the end of any precinct once he gained the lead.

However, the second candidate, Silver, could then invoke his right for a recount and ask that the rest of the precincts be counted, she said. Silver would also be allowed to halt the recount if he recaptures the lead at the end of a precinct, Casto said.

At that point, the recount would be finished. The first candidate can't ask for the process to be restarted, she said.

After the recount, either candidate can contest the results, leading to a judicial-type hearing.

In primaries, county commissions have the right to rule.

If there is a contest in a Circuit Court race in a general election, a special three-person court is set up to hear the case.

The County Commission's ruling can be appealed to the Circuit Court, and, beyond that, to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Camilletti has said he may take the case as far as the state's top court, if necessary.

Silver declined to comment on the race until all results are certified and final.

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