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Candidate denied special panel for vote review

July 21, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION

Candidate denied special panel for vote review



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The state Supreme Court of Appeals has rejected attorney David Camilletti's request that the governor allow a special three-person panel to hear challenges Camilletti is making to a primary Circuit Court judge race.

West Virginia election law states that a special panel can preside over a contest hearing for general elections, while a County Commission presides over challenges in primaries.

Camillietti, of Shepherdstown, has argued that the County Commissioners are part of his challenge and therefore cannot preside over his case.

The Supreme Court of Appeals rejected Camilletti's argument Friday and ordered him to present his challenges to the Berkeley County Commissioners within 20 days.

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Camilletti finished 39 votes behind attorney Gray Silver III in the race for the judge's seat. Last month, Camilletti asked Gov. Cecil Underwood to allow the special panel to preside at his hearing. Attorneys for the governor argued against the request.

The commissioners will begin hearing the case July 31 and will allow a week for the proceedings, said attorney Norwood Bentley III, who represents the commissioners.

Camilletti will be required to prove his allegations and Silver will have the chance to rebut, Bentley said. Camilletti is challenging hundreds of ballots from the May 9 primary as well as tallying procedures used.

Bentley said Friday he thinks the commissioners will be able to fairly judge the case. Rules for an election outcome contest are different than those for a canvass and a recount request, which have already taken place in the challenge, Bentley said.

"I have no doubt they will follow the rules," Bentley said.

Camilletti could not be reached for comment.

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