Day launches write-in bid for Unicoi mayor's seat

Brad Hicks • May 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

ERWIN — For Johnny Day, the numbers just don’t add up, and he wants to take another crack at the office of Unicoi County mayor.

Day said Friday that he intends to run as a write-in candidate for the office in the August general election. Day was defeated by incumbent Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch by a little more than 1,500 votes in the May 6 Republican primary. Lynch received a total of 2,750 votes against Day’s 1,229 votes, according to numbers certified Monday by the county Election Commission.

“We’ve done enough canvassing, re-canvassing, I just don’t believe the numbers add up,” Day said. “Twelve-hundred votes is not even close. We did scientific canvassing of walk lists and names, and we’ve already got well over 2,000 people who said they voted for me in the election. I don’t know where the votes went, but I’ve had calls ever since they started announcing the results that night, people asking ‘Well, what happened?’ Nobody believes the numbers. I don’t know where the numbers went. I’m not going to even try to speculate what happened except to say we’re going to do it again.”

Day also said he will seek the oversight of the Tennessee Election Commission for the Aug. 7 general election to ensure that “everything is done the way it should be done from beginning to end, starting with setting up the machines, tallying the votes and certifying the election at the end.”

“I’m not saying anything happened,” Day said. “I’m just saying something doesn’t add up, and we want to make sure that everything is accounted for properly next time.”

Day said he realizes that some of the voters initially canvassed could change their minds prior to casting their votes or may have stated they would vote for him when, in fact, they did not. Still, he said he finds it difficult to believe either instance resulted in the discrepancy in the number of votes he originally projected but did not receive.

“You can’t possibly have 40 percent of the people who say they’re going to vote for you turn back around at the time to vote and not vote for you,” Day said. “It’s too many. We’ve gone back and canvassed those people, and they said ‘We voted for you.’ I don’t think they’d lie to us twice.”

Day said he has not yet spoken with the county Election Commission since the Republican primary. To seek office as a write-in candidate, Day must file a certificate of write-in candidacy with the office by June 18. His name will not appear on the Aug. 7 ballot with those of his opponents — Lynch and independent mayor candidate Larry Rose.

Voting machines will have a write-in option beside each contest. To cast a write-in vote, voters must press this button, which will open a screen with alphanumeric characters. Voters can spell out the name of the write-in candidate and, once complete, press the “done” button on the screen.

Day said he is confident the general election will end with a more favorable result than the Republican primary.

“We believe, based on our re-canvassing, that we can win,” he said. “If the same people come back out that tell us they’ll vote for us again, with three of us in it, we believe that we can win.”

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