Election certification means new results, runoffs, recounts for Horry County races

One candidate is officially out of the running and another is back in, after Tuesday's Horry County primary results were certified Thursday by the county election commission.

A discrepancy in tallying the absentee ballots changed the outcome of two races. That discrepancy and the potential changes in the race outcomes were announced Wednesday night. Those results were made official in the certification hearing Thursday.

There will now be no runoff in the S.C. House District 58 race. Jeff Johnson picked up enough new votes to win the race outright.

In the Horry County Council district 5 race, there will still be a runoff, but it will now involve different candidates.

Officials say the problem stemmed from one of the two ways to vote absentee.

One way is by voting machine at the elections office in Conway. The other involves mailing in a paper ballot.

Officials say in Tuesday's primary the machine voting went fine, but there was a glitch in counting the 525 paper absentee ballots.

Every time those ballots went through the counting machine, a different result came up.

"So after consulting with the state elections office, we were told to hand count those results of all those paper ballots, which did change the results of two elections," said Horry County public information officer Lisa Bourcier.

Bourcier said the county is working with vendors and the state election commission to find out what caused the glitch and get it fixed in time for the June 24 runoff.

The changes mean that County Council district 5 candidate Clif Smith is out of the runoff.

Reese Boyd, who thought he was out, picked up a few votes and is now back in.

Smith said he'll accept the result and move on.

"Hopefully, trust that the system is working and go forth from here," said Smith.

Boyd said he will reach out to voters again, to tell them why he thinks he's the best candidate.

"We're going to try to shake as many hands, contact as many voters as we can over the phones and do those things that candidates do to get their message out and hopefully we'll be successful on runoff day," said Boyd.

Boyd said he has picked up Smith's endorsement for the runoff against first place finisher Tyler Servant.

Smith said he will probably not run for public office again.

The vote certification produced one more change.

There will now be a recount in the Horry County Council district 2 race between Bill Howard and incumbent Brent Schulz.

Howard was initially declared the winner Tuesday, but Bourcier said the new vote tally changed enough to bring the margin between the two candidates within one percent, requiring a recount, scheduled to take place Friday.