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Vote recount suspended in 90th District

June 06, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The recount of Democratic write-in votes for the 90th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives scheduled for Wednesday has been suspended until after the Franklin County Election Board holds a cumulation hearing to settle the two-vote difference between Patrick E. Fleagle and Todd Rock.

The petition to suspend the opening of ballot boxes and recount was signed Monday by Court of Common Pleas Judge Douglas Herman. The petition was submitted by Rock's father, Nelson Rock, one of three people who originally petitioned the court for a recount.

Herman's order stated the recount be suspended "pending the Franklin County Election Board's certification of the Democratic write-in votes and the election board's findings regarding the petitions to cumulate votes that have been filed in this matter."

Rock, 42, of Mont Alto, Pa., defeated Fleagle, 55, of Waynesboro, Pa., by 111 votes in the Republican primary. Following the primary, Rock and Fleagle both petitioned the court to cumulate, or add together, various versions and misspellings of their names that appeared on write-in ballots in the Democratic primary. Fleagle petitioned that 13 variations of his name totaling 339 votes be cumulated, while Rock is asking the board to cumulate 10 variations of his name totaling 337 votes.

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"I hope the Rocks don't try to drag this out forever," Fleagle said Monday night. "I just want to get over the appeals and see where we stand."

"We want to know where we stand before we open boxes," Nelson Rock said Monday. Without knowing which of those Fleagle votes and Rock votes the election board will allow, Nelson Rock said his candidate will not know how far ahead or behind he is and whether a recount of all eight requested precincts is necessary.

"We would not know what the final count would be if the cumulation was not done," Rock said. He added that if opening one or more boxes changed the outcome of the race in the event of a recount, it would not be necessary to open all eight.

Citing state law, the petition to suspend the recount stated that "a petition to open a ballot box shall be filed no later than five days after the completion of the computational canvassing of all returns of the county by the county board."

Todd Rock's father, mother and another supporter, Leland H. Lemley, filed for the recount last week on the same day he filed for cumulation of the write-in votes. Fleagle did not file for a recount.

"I guess they figured they were ahead. Why would you open any?" Nelson Rock said.

Fleagle said he had not received any official notification from the court of the recount hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday and did not hear about the suspension until returning from Harrisburg, Pa., Monday night.

"We're in session ... and I can't just take off any time to play politics," Fleagle said. The legal aspects of the cumulation and recount proceedings are being handled on his behalf by Waynesboro attorney William Dick.

County Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said Monday the Board of County Commissioners, which makes up the election board, might discuss scheduling a cumulation hearing when it meets today.

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