3 machines later, votes tabulated
By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It took nearly 12 hours and three vote-counting machines, but Berkeley County finally finished tabulating Tuesday's General Election results at about 6:50 a.m. Wednesday.
In a series of events that officials could only attribute to bad karma or a nearly full moon, one machine broke, its backup failed, and a third machine borrowed from Jefferson County - which had worked just fine there - worked in Berkeley County only when a special button was held down as the punch cards were fed through.
"The people we got the machines from told us this was the only county they had trouble with," said County Clerk John Small.
The machine malfunctions came after months of discussion about fixing procedural problems that plagued the May primary election and sent one contested election to the door of the state Supreme Court. Four years ago, a machine failed. Tuesday's failure caused a delay in determining the outcome of a very tight race for Congress.