In the News

Recount ordered for Bedford

BY KATHY MELLOTT for the Tribune Democrat
June 5, 2007

BEDFORD — In a decision an attorney called rare, a judge ruled Tuesday that the Bedford County Board of Elections must recount Republican votes cast in the May primary race for county commissioner.

At issue is an eight-vote difference between incumbent Michael Shaffer and challenger Michael Herline, both Republicans.

Herline came out the winner.

Shaffer, appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of the late Dick Rice, petitioned the court last week, seeking the all-encompassing recount. The county election board had denied his request.

“This is very unusual. I can’t recall ever seeing anything like this,” said Ebensburg attorney Tim Burns, who represented Shaffer at the hearing in front of Judge Daniel Howsare. “I’ve seen smaller recounts. But when you get a countywide one, that’s pretty rare.”

The results have been a point of contention since election day, when a glitch developed with the computer in South Woodbury Township, Shaffer’s home area.

“They will only be doing that one race,” Commissioner Steve Howsare said. “I would think the recount would get under way in the next two weeks or so.”

The recount of all 40 of the county’s precincts involves about two-thirds of ballots cast by 6,800 voters – the GOP ballots – and could take a couple days, Howsare said.

“It’s my understanding they sit down and go over each and every ballot,” Burns said. “We’re looking more to error than to any fraud.”

Incumbent Howsare led the field for two GOP nominations for county commissioner, and his ballot spot does not appear to be in jeopardy.