CHARLES TOWN – Don't count the votes – at least for now.
Judge Debra McLaughlin on Tuesday issued a temporary stay of her Nov. 6 order reversing the decision of the Harpers Ferry tribunal's decision to not count four provisional ballots after a town election in June.
On Nov. 6, she found in favor of Nancy Singleton Case and Deborah A. McGee, who appealed a decision by Harpers Ferry leaders earlier this year to not count four provisional ballots in the town's municipal election, on the grounds that the voters – who lived in Harpers Ferry – were accidentally listed as Bolivar residents.
A few hours after McLaughlin's ruling, J. Zak Ritchie, a Charleston attorney representing three Harpers Ferry Town Council members involved in defending the town's decision to reject the provisional ballots, filed an appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, asking for McLaughlin's ruling to be reversed.
The appeal filed by town officials also requested that such a recount or any action counting votes on the provisional ballots be delayed until a final decision is handed down by the state Supreme Court.
Two days later, a formal request for a stay was filed.
The stay will continue until a hearing can be held on Nov. 22 at 2:30 p.m. At that hearing, both sides will offer oral arguments as to whether the stay should be upheld until the case is heard by the West Virginia State Court of Appeals.