60 ballots challenged in Atlantic Beach election

The Atlantic Beach Election Commission reviewing the challenged ballots Thursday morning / Joel Allen

The town of Atlantic Beach has a newly certified mayor-elect, but supporters of one of the losing candidates are vowing not to give up.

Thursday, the town's election commission certified Jake Evans as the winner of Tuesday's municipal election, but the hearing was not without some fireworks.

A total of 60 ballots that were cast in the town Tuesday were challenged, with Pat Bellamy, a supporter of incumbent mayor Retha Pierce, submitting most of them. She claimed the challenged voters aren't really residents of the town.

We were previously told 62 ballots were challenged.

But Mayor-elect Jake Evans said there was scant evidence to support that claim.

In one example, Rita Tucker, whose vote was challenged, showed the commission her driver's license, voter registration card and a letter from the Veterans Administration - all with the same Atlantic Beach address - but her vote was still thrown out. She said she was given no reason.

"They gave me absolutely nothing. They wouldn't even look at me in my eyes," Tucker said.

Ultimately, the commission rejected 43 votes and accepted 17. The rejected votes didn't change the initial results. Evans is the winner with 55 votes. Windy Price had 21 and Pierce, 18.

After the hearing, Bellamy said Evans may be the winner, but she's not giving up, because many voters were bullied and intimidated by his supporters.

"So it's these kind of tactics that make you say, they should protest this election. This election should be protested and it should go back to the Supreme Court," Bellamy said.

Evans said he wants to get on with running the town, but he's not happy about the process for challenging votes.

"They sit up here and they give these people no reason whatsoever why their vote was not counted. That's what these people are so upset about. They're still wanting answers. Why was my vote not counted?"

Election Commission chairperson Nicole Kenyon would not comment to NewsChannel 15, about why the challenged votes were rejected.

Myrtle Beach also certified its votes Thursday. The results remain the same.

For complete election results, click here.