Advertisement

Berkeley ends computer dispute with payment

February 05, 2001

Berkeley ends computer dispute with payment



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 2000 election has finally ended in Berkeley County.

The Berkeley County Commission extricated itself from the last remaining entanglement of the sometimes-messy election season late last week when it voted unanimously to settle a dispute with the company that provided ballot-counting machinery.

The Commissioners had refused to pay the $6,995 charged by Election Systems and Software, Inc. of Omaha, Neb., because it did not work as it was supposed to election night.

First, one machine would not count the ballots, leaving the county's attorney and commission chairman on their hands and knees, screwdrivers in hands, trying to fix it. Then, the backup didn't work. Finally, a third machine was imported from Jefferson County after election workers there finished counting their ballots in the middle of the night. It worked, but barely, allowing Berkeley County to finish counting its ballots 12 hours after the polls closed.

Advertisement

The snafu caused dozens of poll workers to be sitting around doing nothing for hours while a fix was sought.

"I don't think we ought to pay them," Commissioner Robert Burkhart insisted at the time. And that's where matters stood until the company agreed to knock $1,500 off the bill last week, reducing it to $5,495.

That satisfied Burkhart and the other commissioners.

The election-night problems came on top of months of legal wrangling over the results of a judge's race held in May. Commissioners counted ballots, recounted them, counted the unused ballots and finally were spared any further work when the state Supreme Court refused to hear any more appeals of the case.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|