Lead sticks after Berkeley County canvass

May 21, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The canvassing of votes in Berkeley County ended Monday with Steve Teufel leading by eight votes over James L. Edwards for the Republican nomination to run for the Berkeley County Commission in the Nov. 5 general election.

Edwards' fiance, Tina Shirey, said Edwards, of Hedgesville, W.Va., will decide today whether he will request a recount.

The deadline for a candidate to request a recount is noon Wednesday, County Clerk John Small said.

Teufel, a Martinsburg resident who has run for the county commission three times, said Monday he isn't "crazy" about going through a recount.

"I'm just a winner and that makes me happy. It was a hard-fought race. Everybody should hold their heads up high," he said.


After the primary election on May 14, unofficial vote tallies showed Teufel in the lead by six votes, and at the end of the canvassing on Friday, Teufel was in the lead with 10 votes.

The Board of Canvass, made up of Berkeley County Commission members, completed the canvass late Monday morning.

The canvass includes running all the ballots from the 58 precincts through the tabulator, voting on whether to accept or throw out challenged ballots, and counting three precincts by hand to ensure the accuracy of the tabulator.

Of the 144 ballots challenged, 126 were accepted and 18 thrown out, according to Bonnie Woodfall, chief election deputy clerk.

She said the majority of ballots thrown out were discarded because the voter was not registered.

After the canvass, Teufel had 1,231 votes, a 21-vote increase from the initial primary results. Edwards had 1,223 votes, an increase of 19 votes. Bill Alexander had 1,121 votes, an increase of 22.

The Republican candidate will face Democrat Butch Pennington in November. Pennington had an additional 36 votes after the canvass, for a total of 2,321, and opponent Patricia Washington received an additional 24 votes for a total of 1,597.

Candidates who request recounts must pay a bond of $300, which pays for the cost of the recount.

Once a recount is requested, the other candidates in both parties are notified to give them the opportunity to also place a bond.

The tally clerks, who document the votes as the Board of Canvass calls them out, are supplied by the candidates who request the recount or by the clerk's office.

During the recount, candidates can stand behind the commissioners while they recount the ballots.

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