Triangle Briefs

Clayton holds new council election today

Staff WriterDecember 9, 2008 

— Clayton voters will pick two town councilmen in a special election today, more than a year after an initial vote was botched when some people were given the wrong ballots.

The revote will include all five Town Council candidates who appeared on the ballot in November 2007. The results of that race were challenged because some town residents received ballots without the town races, while some residents from outside Clayton voted on town ballots.

The error prompted a legal battle that dragged on for nearly a year, postponing the vote until after last month's election.

Two candidates, Alex Atchison and Butch Lawter, appealed the results, in which Alex Harding and Art Holder won two open seats. The State Board of Elections ordered a new election including only Holder and Lawter, who earned the second- and third-highest number of votes with a margin of only three votes separating them.

Atchison, an incumbent who earned the fourth-highest number of votes by a larger margin, appealed the decision, which was then struck down by a Superior Court judge. The State Board of Elections appealed that decision.

The matter wound through the courts until mid-September, when the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that all five candidates should appear on the new ballot. By that time, however, it was too late to hold the revote along with the November elections.

The town of Clayton will spend an estimated $14,000 to hold the new election.

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