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Councilman keeps seat after voter registration challenge
Thursday, 04 May 2017 13:00

From Staff Reports

 Elections officials recently affirmed Asheville City Councilman Keith Young’s right to serve on Asheville’s governing body.

The Buncombe County Board of Elections voted 3-0 on March 30 against a challenge to Young’s voter registration that, if it had been successful, would have removed him from council.

While the officials rejected the challenge, their action failed to address some major questions about a stipulation in a mortgage in which he recently entered.

The challenge to Young was raised by semi-retired financial planner Mike Lewis, a city resident.

While Young is registered to vote in the East End neighborhood near downtown, his relatively new mortgage requires him to have, as his primary residence, a house outside the adjoining town of Arden. Council members must — by law — live in Asheville. Young works as a deputy to the Clerk of Superior Court.

Under oath during the board’s formal quasi-judicial hearing, Lewis said, “I would assume as a deputy of Superior Court and (as) a councilman he would understand the nature of what he signed. 

Meanwhile Young testified under oath that he lived at both places, but he remained a primary resident of the Asheville house owned and occupied by his mother and father.

“Circumstances in my life are not always black and white and my finances being a big part of that,” Young said at the hearing.

Afterward, Young declined news media requests for interviews and Lewis said he had no plans to appeal the matter to Superior Court.

While Young signed the mortgage on July 29, eight months after taking office, the challenge to his qualification to serve on council first arose on Dec. 30, when anonymous packets — containing the mortgage, Young’s voter registration and a letter pointing to the apparent contradiction — were distributed to the board of elections and the city attorney.



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