CHARLESTON -- A Raleigh circuit judge has decided to take evidence in Lincoln County's May 11 contested primary election after the case was moved out of Lincoln County.

After more than 600 absentee ballots were cast in the primary, Charles Brumfield and Phoebe Harless filed legal papers challenging the results. There were more absentee ballots in Lincoln County than any other county in West Virginia.

Harless was running against Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey Jr. and Brumfield was an incumbent circuit clerk running against Sheriff Jerry Bowman, both won at the polls but lost after early voting and absentee ballots were counted.

Election results show that absentee ballots went against Brumfield and Harless by a ratio of about 9 to 1.

The election contest was sent to Lincoln Circuit Court after opposing motions were filed to disqualify Lincoln County Commission President Charles McCann and County Commissioner Charles Vance from presiding over the case.

Lincoln Circuit Judges Jay Hoke and William Thompson filed a motion with the state Supreme Court to recuse themselves from the case.

Ramey could not take evidence in the election contest because he was involved.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis ruled late last week to send the case to Raleigh County. Raleigh Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III will preside over the election contest.

Raleigh County court officials said a trial date has not yet been set.

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