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Decision expected next week in Rock-Fleagle election case

July 07, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The race for the Democratic nomination for the 90th District Pennsylvania House of Representatives could be decided Tuesday, when the Franklin County Election Board meets.

Todd Rock of Mont Alto, Pa., won the Republican nomination in the May 16 primary over nine-term incumbent Patrick E. Fleagle of Waynesboro, Pa., by 111 votes, but both candidates garnered write-in votes in the Democratic primary where no candidate was listed on the ballot.

Following the primary, both men filed cumulation requests with the election board. Fleagle is seeking to have 339 votes under various versions and misspellings of his name counted in his favor, while Rock is seeking to consolidate 337 votes, according to the petitions they submitted to the election board.

Tuesday's meeting of the election board is scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners meeting room, according to county Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers. The election board is made up of county Commissioners G. Warren Elliott, Bob Thomas and Cheryl Plummer.

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On June 22, the board held a hearing at which attorney Marcus Lemon argued on behalf of Fleagle's request and attorney Clinton Barkdoll presented Rock's case for consolidation of votes. Lemon told the board that votes, even if misspelled, should be counted, if the voters' intent is clear. Barkdoll argued that some of the misspellings of Fleagle's last name were "problematic" and should not be counted.

The board then gave each side until June 28 to present additional written comment, Byers said.

The election board on Tuesday will hear a report from county solicitor Shawn Meyers and rule on which votes will be counted, Byers said.

For either man to receive the nomination for state representative, he would have to have at least 300 votes, the same as the number of signatures required for a person to appear on the primary ballot, according to Pennsylvania election law.

Rock supporters also have filed a petition with the Court of Common Pleas for a recount of Democratic write-in votes in eight of the 36 precincts in the district, although that petition later was amended to suspend any recount until after the election board ruled on the cumulation petitions.

At the June 22 hearing, Lemon said that the recount petition was filed by registered Republicans, who have no legal standing to challenge the outcome of another political party's primary.

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