East Bank candidate seeks writ over recent election

By Cara Bailey | Jul 16, 2007

CHARLESTON - A candidate in the recent East Bank elections has filed a lawsuit against the town's board of canvassers, seeking a writ of mandamus to disregard certain ballots, which were allegedly stolen, and declare him the mayoral winner.

Eugene E. Webb filed a suit July 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the Town of East Bank Board of Election Canvassers. The suit specifically names Charles Blair II, Lulu Scalise, Robert Hobbs, Lynn Dillon, Ruth Spriggs and Junior O'Brien as defendants.

The suit arises from the recent elections in East Bank, which ended with mayoral incumbent Chuck Blair and Eugene Webb tied with 206 votes each. An official canvassing of the election was held June 14, 2007.

According to the suit, 19 ballots were questioned, and it was determined eight of those votes would be counted. Six went to Blair and two went to Webb, making the final election count 212 to 208, with Blair retaining the office of mayor.

Webb filed for a formal recount, which took place June 25, 2007 at the East Bank Town Hall. According to the suit, a blank ballot had been counted as a vote for Blair, which was then disregarded.

"At this point, it was determined the vote tally was 206 votes for (Webb) to 205 votes for the incumbent Mayor, Chuck Blair," the suit says.

At that time, the eight provisional ballots were going to be counted, however, "after an extensive search by the town recorder…, the envelopes in which the ballots had been contained had disappeared," the suit says.

According to the suit, Webb requested that the ballots not be counted, and claimed the ballots may have been tainted. However, the suit says the missing votes were counted, and the final vote was 211 votes for Blair and 208 for Webb.

"It is without question that the theft of the envelopes which contained the eight provisional ballots has destroyed the integrity of the ballots and therefore should not be counted in this election," the suit says.

Therefore, Webb seeks a writ of mandamus asking the East Bank Board of Election Canvassers to reconvene and properly count certain ballots.

The suit was filed by Webb's grandson, Eugene E. Webb III. The case has been assigned to Judge Irene Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-Misc-288

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