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Rocked By The Vote 

ANTiSEEN's Joe Young has up-and-down week

Lenoir musician Joe Young, guitarist for the popular Charlotte-area Southern punk/trash band ANTiSEEN, was riding high until last Friday. He had become what was thought to be the first Libertarian ever elected to a North Carolina City Council, and was the toast of Libertarians statewide, appearing on radio talk shows and being interviewed by many news outlets, including the Observer. Friday, election officials discovered that it was a tabulation error by precinct officials that had made Young the top vote recipient.

Young lost 231 votes during the vote canvass, and dropped from first place to fifth. The top four vote-getters won seats on the City Council, leaving Young, appeals notwithstanding, sitting on the outside looking in.

"Today I lost over 200 votes during 'certification,'" Young told Creative Loafing on Friday. "My Libertarian lawyer buddy TJ (Timothy Rohr) was there, and he and I witnessed the whole thing. It all centers around "double votes" for me. The upshot is I dropped from first place to fifth, but just 38 votes behind the old fart (George) Bernhardt, whom I thought I had de-throned." (Bernhardt is a 38-year incumbent.)

The "double votes" Young speaks of are ones precinct officials had counted twice when hand-counting write-in votes. Young, who was on the ballot, campaigned along with two write-in candidates aggressively backed by the Lenoir Progressive Action Committee, a political group organized by residents opposed to involuntary annexation by Lenoir.

Lenoir's voting machines separate out ballots with write-in votes after counting other, non-write-in votes on those ballots. Precinct officials are to then hand-count only the write-in votes. According to Young, in at least four precincts officials hand-counted every vote on the ballots, including the votes already counted by the machine.

Due to his alliance with the LPAC, Young was hurt more than the other candidates, all of whom received extra votes, because many of the people who cast write-in votes also voted for him.

"I need to be closer than the 38 votes behind Bernhardt to get a recount," says Young, a former Charlotte-area record store manager and CL contributor. "We're gonna raise hell on Monday with the state board, but they are not famous for being flexible on this shit. It all started when they refused to allow our write-in candidates on the ballot. That set up this whole mess. The worst part is they're sitting on 120 "over-votes" that cannot be seen by human eyes or touched by human hands. I'm almost certain that I have enough votes in there to make up the difference.

"But since I'm a Libertarian, I will not waste taxpayer money by suing them," Young says. "If I ain't wanted at their birthday party, I sure as hell ain't gonna sue to get invited." *

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