How are petition candidates working to get noticed?

In South Carolina this year, more people than ever are petition candidates, who got on the ballot after an SC Supreme Court decision in May on improperly filed paperwork.

Their challenge will be to get voters to notice them, since none are incumbents and none will have an "R" for Republican or "D" for Democrat next to their name on the ballot.

So all of them will have the challenge of standing out from the crowd on a very crowded ballot.

Patrick Boulter is making sure voters know he's a petition candidate for Horry County Council District 9, attaching those two words in bright yellow and black to every yard sign he puts out.

Without official party backing and running against an incumbent Republican, he knows he has his work cut out for him.

"It's going to be an uphill challenge, because some people are going to vote straight Republican so I'm going to have to do very well with the people who vote on a split ticket," Boulter said.

So Boulter has to go door to door, telling his story to thousands of voters one on one, but he says in some ways, having no party label may be a blessing.

"I feel like that I've got a lot better chance now of actually getting the Democratic vote or the independent vote."

Mike Connett, one of five petition candidates running for the SC House District 105 seat, agrees.

When he knocks on doors, he'll tell voters he's Republican, but then he also explains that to vote for him, they'll have to look a little closer.

"And they need that extra step and check to make sure that their ballot is completed all the way through, with the petition candidates," said Connett.

Blake Hewitt, another SC District 105 hopeful, makes no secret of his Republican party affiliation on his Facebook page. But he's still a petition candidate, so he says he has to run what he calls an old school, boots-on-the-ground campaign.

"Ultimately I think the more local you get with politics, the more that's what it's all about, because we all have to live in a community together one on one," Hewitt said.

Voting machines in the state are set up to prompt voters that if they vote a straight party ticket, their vote won't include some races where there are no candidates from their party.

The machines will then ask voters if they want to go back and vote in those races, and that should help petition candidates.

More than 200 petition candidates will be on election ballots statewide.