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Judge orders paper ballot for Vandergrift Council candidate

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Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

Vandergrift voters will use paper ballots and voting machines to correct the omission of council candidate Brian J. Carricato on the Nov. 5 machine ballot, a Westmoreland County judge ruled Tuesday.

Only Carricato's name will appear on the paper ballots that will be handed to each voter when they sign the rolls at the borough's six precincts, Judge Gary P. Caruso ruled.

The borough's 2,743 registered voters will elect four people to four council seats, officials said.

Unless a write-in campaign is waged, the three names on the voting machines — Lenny Collini, Frank Moliterno and Christine A. Wilson, all Democrat incumbents, and Carricato, also an incumbent — will be re-elected, said Beth Lechman, the county's Elections Bureau voting system coordinator.

It was an administrative mistake, said Larry Loperfito, who said he represented Carricato as a private attorney, not as borough solicitor.

Lechman said, as far as she is aware, the matter is a first for the county.

Loperfito said Carricato, 32, has served four years as a councilman and almost four more as council president. He said he wants to continue serving citizens.

“Until last spring, Brian thought he and his family would be moving out of the borough,” he said.

That changed. Then, after missing the paperwork deadline for the primary, Carricato mounted a write-in campaign. He won both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

“I thought that would automatically put my name on the ballot,” Carricato said.The Election Bureau sent his official candidacy papers to a wrong address and he never got the papers, Loperfito said.

When he found out, Carricato contacted the bureau.

“It was too late to change the machines,” Lechman said.

The bureau's candidate certification was made Sept. 16.

On Tuesday, Loperfito and the Elections Bureau's attorney met with Caruso and the judge issued an order.

“I think this will be well received. It will be easy to understand,” Loperfito said. “He got hundreds of write-ins.”

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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