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Canvass begins in Berkeley County

November 14, 2000

Canvass begins in Berkeley County



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County officials held their breath Tuesday morning as the canvass of ballots from the Nov. 7 election began with a small technical glitch.

One of the first punch cards through the machine didn't go, reminiscent of Election Night when the county used three machines before completing the count about 12 hours after the polls closed. The problem was later traced to a faulty computer.

Tuesday's problem proved to be both temporary and minor.

"It was the electrical system," explained Berkeley County Administrator Deborah Hammond. "We had too many things plugged into the one circuit. So we put the (vote-counting) machine on a surge protector and we haven't had a problem since."

The County Commissioners had finished counting seven of the 46 precincts by the end of the day and were working on the eighth. Like their counterparts in Florida, they were sorting through scores of challenged ballots, although in most cases here they involved people voting in the wrong precinct.

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Commissioner Robert Burkhart could be seen holding up a punch card to the light, trying to determine if there was any way to reconstruct the ballot.

The commissioners expect the canvass to be complete by the end of the week.

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