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Berkeley mulls election law changes

August 24, 2000

Berkeley mulls election law changes



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - In the wake of an election for judge that still isn't settled, the Berkeley County Commissioners will discuss changes next week to improve local election laws.

The commissioners briefly talked Thursday about possible actions they could take.

Among the possible actions are raising from $75 to $100 the daily amount paid to poll workers, working to change state forms on which ballots are tracked, assigning "floating supervisors" from the County Clerk's Office to visit polling places on election days or having a "quick check list for poll workers to follow

"We need to do things a little smoother than we have been," County Commissioner Robert Burkhart said Thursday.

He and the other two commissioners this month sat as a kind of jury to decide the race for Circuit Court judge between Gray Silver III and David Camilletti.

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The commissioners counted ballots for four days following a recount and vote canvas that gave Silver a 39-vote lead after their May election. The commissioners declared Silver the winner, but during their hearing several irregularities cropped up.

Some uncounted absentee ballots were discovered. Sheets listing the number of ballots cast in some precincts did not match the actual number of ballots from that precinct. And some ballots were not signed by both poll workers, as required by law.

Camilletti has appealed the commissioners' decision to Circuit Court and the election may serve as a catalyst for changes to state law.

His attorney, Richard Staton of Mullens, W.Va., is a state delegate and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Staton said he wants to call county officials before his committee to discuss their experience, with an eye toward improving elections held in the state.

The commissioners meet again Thursday.

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