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Area party leaders keep eyes on ballot confusion

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

With the presidential race still undecided, both Republicans and Democrats are wondering what the final outcome will be.

"I've had a number of phone calls about what is taking place, but it's difficult to say. It's really out of our hands, but I've always said that the best man will win," said William E. Reynolds, chair of the Harrison County Democratic Committee.

Reynolds said he is upset with the way the election results are being handled in Florida. Several lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of Palm Beach County residents who have said the ballots were confusing, causing them to cast their votes for the wrong presidential candidate.

"You don't make ballots like that, with the names listed side by side. That could confuse anyone, and especially the elderly," he said. "Our county ballot simply had the nominees in a row, and that made things easy."

Nancy Scardina, former chair of the Harrison County Republican Committee, agreed.

"We are lucky in West Virginia. Our poll workers are trained, and if anyone has a question we know what to do," she said.

As a poll worker in the Tuesday election, Scardina said she had one woman who made a mistake on her ballot and asked for an eraser. That would make the ballot illegal, she said.

Scardina told the voter that she was entitled to a new ballot. Scardina then took the used ballot, marked through it with a black marker, and wrote "spoiled" across it.

"People in Florida had spoiled ballots, and they should have been able to go to the clerks and ask for new ballots. If they didn't, then it was their (the voters) mistake," she said.

Scardina said she has also had a number of phone calls, and has found a lot of people who had no interest in the election now talking about what might happen. She believes the media attention has added to the problems of this year's election.

"I have never approved of the exit polls. When I got in the car after the polls closed, my husband told me they had already declared Florida for Gore. I was floored.

"People in the western states probably figured one of two ways. They would get out to help their guy win, or figure that their vote was already lost, and instead vote for the one they thought was winning," she said.

Both Reynolds and Scardina hope things quiet down while the wait for the election results continues.

"I would like to see both men and both parties keep their mouths shut until it's done, and then be a gentleman about the loss and congratulate the winner. This has divided our country, and we can't afford to do that," Scardina said.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com

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