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A coin flip? Tied council race could be decided by coin flip

June 19, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - For the second time in less that two weeks, a town election in the Eastern Panhandle has ended in a tie.

The Town of Bath does not know who was elected to the fifth council position in Tuesday's election, since Scott Merki and Dave Duncan are tied with 65 votes each.

At Monday morning's Board of Canvass meeting, four of the 11 provisional ballots were approved and added to the results, which increased Duncan's votes from 61 to 65 and Merki's votes from 62 to 65.

Last month's Charles Town (W.Va.) Council election ended in a tie after canvassing. Candidates Lacie Mumaw and Michael Slover were separated by two votes after votes were counted on election night. After the canvass resulted in a tie, a recount was requested. Slover won by five votes.

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Bath Town Clerk Margie McCumbee Allgyer said candidates have 48 hours from Monday's meeting to request in writng a recount that would cost the candidate $300, which is the yearly salary for a council position.

If a recount is not requested, the tied vote can be resolved with a coin toss, Councilman David Crosby said.

Allgyer said the winner also could be determined by picking a name out of a hat.

Duncan said after the meeting that he was not interested in a recount and would like the decision to be made with a coin toss.

Scott Merki, who did not attend the meeting, said later he is not interested in spending $300 to recount less than 200 votes.

"Let the cards fall where they may. Whoever wins, wins," he said.

The canvass results showed incumbent Mayor Susan J. Webster was re-elected with 108 votes, and challenger Barbara Campbell received 55 write-in votes.

The town recorder, incumbent Garnet Marsh, received 118 votes and ran unopposed.

The four top vote-getters in the Bath Town Council were incumbents - Crosby received 119 votes, Nancy Harvey had 102 votes, Dale Lutman got 95 votes and Kenny Easton received 91 votes.

The election certification will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall, and the council will either pick a recount date or choose a meeting date to toss the coin to determine who will serve as councilman beginning July 1 for a two-year term.

The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.

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