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Recount widens Baker's lead in Ward 1

June 20, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Christopher Baker widened his lead over Ward 1 Councilman Merle "B.I." Butts from nine votes to 12 Monday during a city election ballot canvass.

There are no new ballots left to count, so Baker apparently unseated the 28-year councilman by the slimmest margin of any city race.

The City Council during Monday's canvass counted 25 votes that had been challenged during the June 13 election or had come in as absentee ballots afterwards. The council rejected seven other ballots, most because the voters weren't registered in the city.

Ten of the newly-counted ballots were in Ward 1, and Baker received six votes to three for Butts. One voter apparently didn't choose either candidate.

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Butts has until Thursday to ask for a recount, according to City Recorder Sharon Flick. If he does, Butts would have to post a bond of up to $300 to cover the cost of the recount, as required by state election law.

Baker led Butts, 218-209, after election night. His lead is now 224-212.

Other candidates also picked up votes during the canvass, but no other race was close enough for the votes to affect the outcome.

The City Council also oversaw the hand-count of one precinct at random Monday to check the accuracy of the machine totals on election night.

Baker was one of two first-time candidates to upset incumbents. In Ward 4, Roger Lewis beat Councilman Oden Barrett and challenger Elizabeth Anne Keefe.

Gregg Wachtel, a former councilman, earned an at-large seat, joining incumbent Donald Anderson. They defeated four other candidates.

George Karos, a current councilman at-large, won an uncontested race for mayor.

Ward 2 Councilman Richard Yauger held his seat against a challenge from current Mayor Earnest Sparks.

Ward 3 Councilman Max Parkinson and Ward 5 Councilman Glenville Twigg won re-election unopposed.

A three-year police levy passed by a wide margin.

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