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Independent Zytkow Petitions His Way Onto City Council Ballot

Grant Baldwin Photography

There will be an independent candidate on the ballot for Charlotte City Council’s 4th District this year. The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections yesterday verified activist Michael Zytkow has turned in enough signatures to qualify as an unaffiliated candidate. It’s the first time in at least 15 years that an independent has successfully petitioned his way into the city council race.

Zytkow had to collect 3,063 signatures or four percent of the 4th District’s population. He and his supporters worked from late July through last Friday to make sure he would get enough. 

“I just remember a sense of joy; a sense of relief," he says. "I mean, the last nine weeks of my life have been dedicated to getting on the ballot.”

It’s rare for unaffiliated city council candidates like Zytkow to satisfy the county’s requirement. Elections director Michael Dickerson says it’s the only case he’s ever heard of, and certainly the only one in his 15 years on the job.

Zytkow is 27 and works as a community organizer for the Campaign for Political Reform.

A Democratic primary runoff next month between Greg Phipps and Wil Russell will determine who Zytkow will run against in November. There is no Republican in the race.

District 4, in the northeast part of the city, is currently represented by Democrat Michael Barnes. He’s running for an at-large seat on City Council.

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