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Motion for phone testimony in DA vote dispute

Published December 04. 2013 05:00PM

A motion has been filed for permission to allow a key witness to testify by telephone on behalf of District Attorney Elect-Christine Holman at a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday in the Schuylkill County Court.

The hearing is on a petition filed by 20 Democratic registered voters who allege there were errors committed in the counting of absentee ballots, and as a result, the election was illegal and they are asking the court to declare the incumbent District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon the winner.

Attorney Maria Casey filed the petition on behalf of Holman claiming that it was necessary for the key witness, Brian Burgan, who resides in Nebraska, to be allowed to testify by telephone.

Burgan was the man in charge of the counting machine at the election center on the night of the Nov. 5 election and handled the disputed ballots.

At the previous hearing held on a petition filed by three Democratic electors there was testimony by election director Frannie Brennan that about 40 absentee ballots could not be counted by scanning machines and Burgan recorded the ballots by hand in the counting machine.

The result of the election showed Holman received 15,265 votes and Noon, 15,192.

President Judge William E. Baldwin, who presided at the hearing on the first petition, denied a recount because the petition was defective, however the court ordered the $6,250 cash deposit posted to be returned and Holman's motion for counsel fees and cost were denied.

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