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Berkeley Co. Commission counts judge ballots again

September 05, 2000

Berkeley Co. Commission counts judge ballots again



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W. Va. - The Berkeley County Commission concluded the fifth counting of ballots in a disputed election for Circuit Court judge Tuesday.

Now it will be up to the legal system to decide who won the race between Gray Silver III and David Camilletti. Silver apparently won, but Camilletti contested the results.

No results changed by the commissioners' count of ballots sent out to polling places but not used on election day in May. The commissioners could not account for 11 uncast ballots, eight of them from one precinct.

They concluded the ballots probably were never sent to the county by the company that printed them. Three other ballots also could not be traced.

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The ballots were first counted election night, counted again in a regular canvas, counted a third time in a recount, then counted a fourth time by the commissioners in a special hearing a month ago.

The commission then declared Silver the winner and Camilletti appealed to court, which ordered the commissioners to sort through the unused ballots.

"I think there were some mistakes made in the process, but I don't think there was any fraud or anything illegitimate," said Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart.

Camilletti had a different take.

"The continual failure to follow (election) law along with unaccounted-for ballots in various precincts leaves the question open as to whether tampering occurred," he said. "I'm not saying it did. I'm just saying it leaves the question open. Anything unaccounted for is unsatisfactory. Anything."

"I think the process was fair," said Norwood Bentley III, the commissioners' attorney. "I don't think there was any tampering or anything illegitimate at all."

Visiting Judge Alan Moats of Taylor County will hear Camilletti's appeal Sept. 13. The state Supreme Court is expected to render the final verdict.

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