The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 8, 2012

Canvass will decide second Delegate seat

Voters in the newly-constituted 42nd Delegate District resoundingly returned Republican Ray Canterbury to Charleston for a seventh term, but were less decisive in casting ballots for the district’s other seat in the House.

The 42nd comprises almost all of Greenbrier County, plus three precincts in Monroe County and one — Pence Springs — in Summers County.

Canterbury’s unofficial totals at the end of election day found him with a comfortable 2,258-vote edge over his nearest competitor. He won the nod from 7,229 Greenbrier County voters, 400 in Monroe and 144 in Summers, for a grand total of 7,773.

“I am honored (and) humbled by the confidence the voters have shown in me,” Canterbury said.

Canterbury said he looks forward to the challenge of being the district’s “senior member” in the House of Delegates. He spoke fondly of the collegial respect he and retiring Greenbrier County Delegate Tom Campbell, a Democrat, shared as they bridged the political party gap.

Another Republican — newcomer George “Boogie” Ambler — will take office beside Canterbury in the 42nd, barring a change of fortune in next Tuesday’s ballot canvass.

Election day totals found Ambler with a razor-thin 129-vote advantage over Democrat Steve Hunter. Ambler received 5,515 votes to Hunter’s 5,386. Glenn Singer (D) was also in the hunt for the House seat, finishing with 5,158.

All of those vote totals are unofficial, however, and with 263 provisional ballots yet to be counted among the district’s three counties, Hunter still has an outside chance to overtake Ambler.

Provisional ballots — what used to be called challenged ballots — may or may not be counted, depending on the circumstance. County commissioners will determine on a case-by-case basis if each of those ballots should be included in the official tally.

A person may have his or her ballot challenged by a poll worker due to such vagaries as a recent change of address or because his or her name does not appear in the poll book for a particular precinct. Even with a challenge, the person still may complete a ballot, but that ballot is segregated from the votes that will be counted election night.

On the day of the ballot canvass, the county commissioners rule on each provisional ballot. When it is found that a voter is registered, that person’s votes are added to the election total.

Usually held on the Monday following an election, this year’s canvass will be held Tuesday due to the Veterans Day holiday. Monroe and Summers counties will both start their canvasses at 9 a.m., while Greenbrier County’s commissioners have not yet set a time.

The total of provisional ballots at issue in Summers County is 28, Monroe County 54 and Greenbrier County 181.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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