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Winners still winners following canvass of Harrison Co. votes

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Barbara Warner's re-election to the House of Delegates last Tuesday was close, but not as close as first thought.

Harrison County voter registration officials completed a canvass of ballots from the primary election on Tuesday morning, County Clerk Sylvia Basile said.

When challenged ballots were included in the totals, Warner won the last of the county's four House seats with 6,544 votes to fifth-place Larry Linch's 6,460.

That 84-vote difference is nine more than she had when initial returns came in last Wednesday morning, Basile said.

Addition of the challenged ballots changed a few vote totals, but no winners changed as a result.

Now, candidates have until 10:47 a.m. Thursday to ask for a recount, Basile said.

"We'll certify the election Thursday morning," she said. "All candidates have the option of asking for a recount within 48 hours."

Basile said she planned to call Linch to inform him of the canvass results. If he does opt for a recount, it will be conducted Friday, 72 hours after the canvass results are complete, she said.

Linch has not indicated if he might want a recount, and did not immediately return telephone calls Tuesday.

Candidates must post a $300 bonding fee if they want a recount, Basile said. They can ask for a portion or all of the precincts to be recounted.

But that rarely results in a change in the outcome of a race, she said.

"I've never seen it change one," she said.

Officials counted -- by hand -- ballots from five of the county's 93 precincts for the canvass, Basile said.

County commissioners spent Monday reviewing challenged ballots, Commissioner Beth Taylor said.

Challenged ballots include those completed by poll workers who voted outside of their home precinct, those from other people who voted outside of their home precincts, and those from people who voted on the wrong party ticket.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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