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Disputed Clayton Election Could End Up in Court

Posted February 9, 2008

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— A Town Council election might have to be decided in court after the State Board of Elections refused a judge's order to allow all of the original candidates to compete in a new vote.

About 20 voters who live outside Clayton were mistakenly given Clayton ballots at one polling place in the Nov. 6 election.

Incumbent Alex Harding finished with 527 votes, but the second- and third-place finishers in the race, Art Holder and R.S. "Butch" Lawter, were separated by only three votes – 516 to 513 – for the second council seat up for election.

The elections board called for a special runoff between Holder and Lawter. But a district judge ruled recently that all five candidates in the November election should take part.

Elections officials said they would appeal the ruling. The board has traditionally included in special elections only candidates affected by voting errors, officials said.

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