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W.Va. Senate race between Snyder, Adams still undecided

November 11, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The outcome of the tightly fought contest between Herb Snyder and Bob Adams for the 16th District seat in the West Virginia Senate apparently will not be finalized until at least Thursday.

Convened for several hours Monday as canvassing boards of last week's votes, the Berkeley and Jefferson County commissions decided to recess until after Veterans Day to complete a tally of dozens of absentee and provisional ballots after manually checking a sampling of the unofficial results.

The canvass is required by state law to certify each West Virginia county's election results.

Snyder, who formerly held the seat, picked up 26,670 votes in Jefferson and Berkeley counties in Tuesday's general election and Adams received 26,470, according to unofficial returns.

Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan said Monday the results of four of 31 precincts still needed to be canvassed on Wednesday and one precinct also had to be counted by hand. Even after the canvass is complete, both candidates have the option to ask for a recount, a more substantial review of the ballots cast.

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In Berkeley County, Deputy County Clerk Bonnie Woodfall said the canvassing board completed a vote-by-vote review of one precinct -- Precinct 8 in the City of Martinsburg -- and still needed to review the results of Precincts 55 and 43. The Hedgesville and Gerrardstown area precincts along with Precinct 8 randomly were chosen for review by the canvassing board, which will reconvene Thursday morning.

Woodfall said 49 absentee ballots were received in time to be added to Berkeley County's results, but she could not say how many provisional ballots were cast in each precinct.

After manually scrolling through three paper rolls of ballots cast in Precinct 8 at Ramer School in Martinsburg, the canvassing board voted to accept the votes of four poll workers who assisted voters there and two absentee ballots, Woodfall said.

One provisional ballot was not accepted because it was cast in the wrong precinct, she said.

Both state Senate candidates observed a portion of the canvassing process on Monday morning in Berkeley County, where Adams received 16,595 votes (52.3 percent) and Snyder received 15,114 votes (47.6 percent), according to unofficial results.

In Jefferson County, Snyder received 11,556 votes (53.8 percent) and Adams received 9,875 (46 percent). Between the two counties, there were 38 write-in votes cast in the state Senate race, with all but six cast in Jefferson County, according to unofficial results.

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