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Wellsburg Council cancels primary election

WELLSBURG — At a special meeting Friday, Wellsburg Council moved to cancel this year’s primary election and approved the certification of candidates for the June 8 general election.

In each of the last five election years, Wellsburg council members have agreed not to hold the primary when no more than two candidates had filed for any elected office. City officials noted the move saves the city up to $5,000 in election costs.

This year no more than one candidate has filed for the offices of mayor, police chief, collector-treasurer and council seats representing each of the city’s four wards.

Candidates for the seven offices are: Danny Dudley, mayor; Mike Allman, police chief; Karen Aracich, collector-treasurer; Jack Kins, 1st Ward; Mary Margaret Rosso, 2nd Ward; Tom Gaudio, 3rd Ward; and Charlie Harris, 4th Ward.

The terms of council’s eight members are staggered so four other seats representing each of the wards will be up for election in two years.

Motions to certify the candidates and cancel the primary election were supported by Dudley, Kins, Gaudio, 3rd Ward Councilman Randy Fletcher and 4th Ward Councilwoman Della Serevicz.

Second Ward council members Paul T. Billiard and Mary Margaret Rosso didn’t participate in the meeting.

Harris opposed both motions, saying afterward he questions whether individuals among the candidates are qualified or are legal residents.

City Solicitor Ryan Weld said a form required of those declaring their candidacy asks whether the individual is a resident and qualified voter in Brooke County.

He said a resident may challenge a candidate’s status as a resident through the Secretary of State’s office while a resident or council may file a legal petition seeking a judicial ruling on a candidate’s qualifications, which may pertain to residency and age.

Harris said he opposed canceling the primary election because it would give exposure to write-in candidates, who may declare their candidacy in April.

Official write-in candidates are those who filed too late to be included in ballots but whose names may be posted at polling places.

Harris noted he was elected as one of four write-in candidates when no one filed for his seat earlier in the 2013 election year.

He said the cost for the election shouldn’t be a concern because it’s already in the city’s budget.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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