CHARLES TOWN - A group of Charles Town residents filed a petition in the Jefferson Circuit Court seeking a writ of mandamus to the Charles Town City Council to have all cast votes counted.

Marylois Gannon-Miller, Matthew Ward, Philip T. Porterfield III and Barbara P. Porterfield filed a suit June 1 in Jefferson Circuit Court against the City Council of the City of Charles Town. Council members Don Clendenning, Sandy Slusher McDonald, Amy Schmitt, Geraldine Willingham and Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith are all named as defendants.

Gannon-Miller is a resident of Charles Town and a candidate for city council. Ward is a sitting council member and member of the board of canvassers for the recent city council election.

Philip Porterfield III is a resident of Charles Town who "had his vote improperly challenged because of a mistake made by the Jefferson County Clerk's office," the suit says. Barbara Porterfield also had her vote challenged.

According to the suit, Charles Town had an election for city council May 24. The Board of Canvassers reported there were 25 contested ballots. Five days later there was a public meeting determining 11 of the 25 contested ballots would be disallowed, 10 would be allowed and four would be held and considered at the May 31 meeting.

At the meeting, "the 10 allowed votes were announced without any attempt to conceal the identities of these voters and in reading the contents of those allowed ballots it was apparent who each of these voters voted for," the suit says.

The petitioners claim the board has a duty to conduct the election in a fair and impartial manner. The suit claims they "have a duty to conduct the election canvass in a manner so as to insure that each vote be counted unless legitimately challenged and that challenge be upheld by the board."

The suit says the petitioners ask the court to issue a writ of mandamus asking the Board of Canvassers to count all of the votes of the authorized voters.

Attorney James P. Kratovil filed the case in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 07-C-194

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