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Silver gains 8 votes, but recount isn't over

June 06, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Gray Silver III's margin over David Camilletti in a Circuit Court primary race grew by eight votes during a three-day ballot recount that ended Tuesday.

The recount process, however, technically is not over.

Camilletti is invoking his right to review other voting-related materials, such as poll books, registration records and tally sheets.

The Berkeley County Commissioners, who met Friday, Monday and Tuesday to preside over the recount, will reconvene this morning, along with Camilletti and Silver.

It wasn't decided as of Tuesday afternoon what specifically will be reviewed. For example, Camilletti asked if he could look in each ballot box, but County Clerk John Small said some of them have been sent to the city of Martinsburg for its upcoming election.

Camilletti and Silver are vying for the Democratic nomination to be the fourth Circuit Court judge in the 23rd Circuit, which includes Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties. The Democratic nominee would earn the eight-year seat, because there is no Republican candidate in the fall.

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After picking up five votes in Berkeley County in the recount, Silver now has 3,843 among the three counties and is 39 votes ahead of Camilletti.

Camilletti dropped by three votes in Berkeley County, and now has 3,804.

The third Democratic candidate, Patrick Henry, gained one vote in Berkeley County. He has 2,200 votes.

At the conclusion of the recount, Camilletti could contest the results of the May 9 primary. The County Commission would hold a judicial-type hearing in which Camilletti and Silver would argue for or against counting certain ballots.

Particularly in question are ballots which were not signed by both clerks at the polling place.

State law requires both signatures for the vote to be counted. However, the secretary of state's office advised Berkeley County to count those ballots on the night of the primary and during the ensuing canvass and recount.

If the election is contested, the ballots can be rejected, according to state law.

The number of ballots missing signatures was noted by a court reporter throughout the recount. While the County Commissioners did not keep track themselves, Camilletti and Silver did.

However, they declined to share their figures when the recount was through. Camilletti would only say there were "lots" of ballots that could be "subject to interpretation" if he were to contest the result.

At that point, the County Commission would rule on whether to include the ballots. The commission's decision could be appealed to Circuit Court.

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