Hearing Set to Determine if Ballots Will Be Counted

Dec 28, 2018

A court hearing has been scheduled in West Virginia to determine if 57 ballots from the 2018 general election that were found two weeks ago will be counted.

The Exponent Telegram reports the hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court after county officials filed a writ of mandamus through the West Virginia Secretary of State's office. Marion County Administrator Kris Cinalli says the judge has the final decision on whether to count the votes, which would only affect two races, each for seats on the Fairmont City Council. Both races ended in ties, and the winners of each tiebreaker have already been sworn in.

"Obviously, we're hoping that they let us count them as they should be, but I wouldn't be shocked if we couldn't since everything has been certified and people have been sworn in," Cinalli said. "That's terrible, but there has to be an end to it, too."

Marion County Commissioner Randy Elliott said he hopes a judge allows the votes.

"We're asking to have those votes counted, because we feel like that the 57 votes placed on that machine were accurate and precise and without any question, and they should be counted," Elliott said.

Cinalli said the lost votes were originally thought to be caused by a voting machine malfunction, but further investigation found it was human error.

"We think one of the poll workers tripped over the cord, unplugged it, panicked and pulled the ballot out. It was just one of those glitchy things with electronics. It ended up recording the ballots as cast (but not counted). Luckily it did that, or we probably would never have found them."

Cinalli said officials are working to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.