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Berkeley recount under way

June 01, 2002|by SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

The first day of a recount for the Republican nomination for a seat on the Berkeley County Commission ended Friday with Bill Alexander in the lead.

Alexander, of Martinsburg, had 423 votes, followed by Steve Teufel of Martinsburg with 409 and James L. Edwards of Hedgesville with 269.

Edwards requested the recount last week. He trailed Teufel by eight votes after canvassing of the votes ended on May 20.

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The final vote totals from the Adams-Stephen and Norborne districts Friday showed Alexander and Edwards each lost one vote and Teufel gained one.

"We lost one there. Nobody knows what happened to it. It just seemed to disappear," Edwards said.

Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss assured Edwards that official tallies ready Monday will determine the precinct in which the vote was lost.

Strauss and Commissioner John Wright hand-counted 18 of the 58 precincts. Unofficial tallies found 3,756 Republican ballots were cast in the May 14 primary election. Edwards has requested that all the Republican ballots be counted.

There was some disagreement over whether to count ballots cast by Independent voters.

State law permitted registered Independents to vote only for Berkeley County Board of Education candidates and on the issue of Sunday hunting, the secretary of state has said.

In order to vote for Republican candidates, Independent voters were required to request a Republican ballot, said County Commission counsel Norwood Bentley III.

"I don't care what the secretary of state says," Edwards said.

Teufel disagreed.

"The law clearly defines that if he (the voter) didn't punch a blue ballot (Republican) but punched a white ballot (Independent), it doesn't count," Teufel said.

Strauss said the Independent ballots would be counted for the record but would not be included in the official tally.

The recount will resume Monday at 1 p.m.

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