Articles Posted in South Carolina Supreme Court

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Appellant-Respondent George Tempel and Respondents-Appellants the State Election Commission and South Carolina Republican Party appealed a circuit court order concerning the candidacy of Respondent-Appellant Paul Thurmond for Senate District 41. Thurmond electronically filed a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI). Thirty minutes later, he filed his Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) for the Republican Party primary for Senate District 41. However, he did not file a paper copy of his SEI along with his SIC as required by section 8-13-1356(B). All of the other Republican contenders for the Senate District 41 seat were decertified for failing to comply with section 8-13-1356(B). However, Thurmond's name remained on the ballot, and he received over 1,700 votes. He was subsequently declared the Republican candidate for the seat. The circuit court found Thurmond was not exempt from the filing requirement of section 8-131356(B) of the South Carolina Code. S.C. Code Ann. 8-13-1356(B) (Supp. 2011). Thus, Thurmond was disqualified as the Republican nominee for the District 41 seat. The judge ordered the Republican Party to conduct a special primary election pursuant to section 7-11-55. S.C. Code Ann. 7-11-55 (Supp. 2011). Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order. View "Tempel v. So. Carolina Election Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was declaratory relief in connection with an alleged improper certification of certain candidates by the Florence County Republican Party for the June 12, 2012, party primary.  Plaintiffs Florence County Election Commission, David Alford, South Carolina State Election Commission, and Marci Andino contended these candidates were improperly certified because they failed to comply with the requirements for filing a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) contained in S.C. Code Ann. 8-13-1356 (Supp. 2011), as interpreted by the Court in "Anderson v. S.C. Election Comm'n," Op. No. 27120 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed May 2, 2012).  The County Republicans argued the candidates were exempt under 8-13-1356(A) from the filing requirements of 8-13-1356(B).  The Court granted declaratory relief to Plaintiffs and declared the County Republicans improperly construed the relevant statutory provisions to determine certain candidates were exempt from the requirements of 8-13-1356(B). View "Florence County Democratic Party v. Florence County Republican Party" on Justia Law

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Petitioners Beaufort County and several officials from county boards of elections and registration sought a declaration from the Supreme Court in its original jurisdiction that the General Assembly has neither authorized the State Election Commission or the County Election Commissions to conduct a Presidential Preference Primary in 2012, nor mandated that Petitioners bear the financial burden of conducting the primary. The South Carolina Republican Party scheduled a Presidential Preference Primary for January 21, 2012. In the 2011-2012 Appropriations Act, the General Assembly provided that filing fees received from candidates to run in primary elections may be used by the State Election Commission to conduct the 2012 Presidential Preference Primary elections. In addition, the State Election Commission is authorized to use funds originally appropriated for ballot security to conduct the Presidential Preference Primary elections and the statewide primaries and runoffs. Petitioners contended the General Assembly did not authorize the State Election Commission or the County Election Commissions to conduct a Presidential Preference Primary in 2012 or any election cycle thereafter. In addition, Petitioners argued the amount set forth in the Appropriations Act were insufficient to cover the actual costs to the counties of conducting the 2012 primary. Because the Court was "firmly persuaded" that the General Assembly, through passage of Provisos 79.6 and 79.12 for fiscal year 2011-2012, intended to suspend the temporal limitation in S.C. Code Ann. 17-11-20(B)(2) (Supp. 2010), the Court entered judgment for Respondents the State Election Commission. View "Beaufort County v. SC Election Commission" on Justia Law

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This case involved a dispute over the results of a town council election in Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, held on November 3, 2009. Carolyn Cole and Windy Price (Appellants) appealed the circuit court order that affirmed the Town of Atlantic Beach Municipal Election Commission's (MEC) decision to de-certify and order a new election for two Atlantic Beach Town Councilmember positions. On November 3, 2009, the Town of Atlantic Beach held an election for the two positions on town council. After the polls closed, there were 39 contested ballots. The MEC held a challenged ballot hearing, after which, 28 of the challenged ballots were accepted. These accepted ballots included those of Price and Cole. The MEC conducted two protest hearings. In pertinent part, the MEC heard testimony concerning the allegations raised in several letters of protest that contested the election of Appellants on the grounds that Appellants failed to meet the residency requirements to run as candidates. At the close of the second hearing, a majority of the Commissioners voted to grant petitions for a new election. On that same day, Appellants appealed the MEC's decision to the circuit court. The MEC did not issue a written order until January 29, 2010. That order summarily found Appellants did not meet the residency requirements of running for public office. The MEC de-certified the election results and ordered a new election. The circuit court judge heard the appeal in May 2010, and issued an order that same day affirming the decision of the MEC. Upon review, the issues before the Supreme Court pertained to whether there was sufficient evidence in the MECs record to support its decision to decertify and order new elections. Appellants argued that the Supreme Court should vacate the MEC's decision to de-certify and order a new election because the MEC failed to comply with the requirements of the South Carolina Code that delineates the procedure for contesting results of a municipal election. The Court believed that the Town's "complete disregard of the provisions of section the statute was perpetuated by a conscious decision to ignore the will of the voters, and this delay ultimately undermined the legislative purpose behind requiring the expeditious handling of election disputes." Therefore, the Court agreed with Appellants and vacated the decision of the MEC. Accordingly, the MEC's initial certification of the town council election declaring Appellants Cole and Price as winners was restored. View "Cole v. Town of Atlantic Beach Election Commission" on Justia Law