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Camilletti files appeal in W.Va. judge race

August 09, 2000

Camilletti files appeal in W.Va. judge race



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - David Camilletti filed an appeal Wednesday of the Berkeley County Commissioners' recent decision in a Circuit Court primary hearing.

The commissioners Friday rejected Camilletti's argument that numerous ballots from the May 9 democratic primary should be thrown out because of technical flaws. They declared Gray Silver III the winner of the primary in Berkeley County.

Camilletti has asked for a Circuit Court judge to reverse the commissioners' decision and nullify certain ballots and precincts.

His appeal was expected. He said shortly after the primary that the race will probably reach the state Supreme Court of Appeals.

Camilletti and Silver ran against each other for the nomination to be the new 23rd Circuit judge. There will be no republican candidate on the November ballot.

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The Berkeley County Commissioners ruled in Silver's favor after four days of intensive hearings from July 31 to Aug. 3.

The commissioners threw out regular ballots that were missing poll clerks' signatures, as required by law. But the commissioners did not exclude absentee ballots or challenged ballots missing signatures, which Camilletti had requested.

They ruled that procedural and bookkeeping mistakes were made during the primary, canvass and recount. However, "there was absolutely no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation on the part of any participant in the election process," the commissioners said.

They declined to invalidate more votes than they felt they had to.

Silver is now 23 votes ahead of Camilletti, based on the combined tallies of Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

Camilletti has not abandoned his pursuit of the nomination. In his appeal, he contends that the commissioners made several errors during the hearing, such as counting ballots missing poll clerks' signatures and allowing results to stand from precincts where ballot statements weren't reconciled.

Since the secretary of state's office must officially declare a primary winner at least 10 days before the November general election, Camilletti has asked the Circuit Court to act quickly.

He noted that the Circuit Court must allow him time to appeal the Circuit Court's ruling to the state Supreme Court of Appeals, which then might direct the Berkeley County Commission to amend its decision.

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